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Final  Report  and  Background  Papers 

Edited  by  Philip  Meranto 






301 .451 
COD  .4 

I  .H.S 


Final  Report  and  Background  Papers 

Allerton  House,  Monticello,  Illinois 
January  11-13,  1970 

Edited  by  Philip  Meranto 



JUNE   1970 

/4a^'Z?-A  foreword 

Well  over  a  year  ago,  the  National  Advisory  Commission  on  Civil  Dis- 
orders published  its  far-reaching  report  identifying  the  causes  of  urban  racial 
violence.  This  important  government  document  made  a  wide  range  of  recom- 
mendations that  should  be  implemented  if  future  racial  disorder  is  to  be 
averted.  The  Commission  became  known  as  the  Kerner  Commission  in 
deference  to  its  chairman,  then  Illinois  Governor  and  now  U.S.  Circuit 
Judge  Otto  Kerner. 

As  with  many  study  commission  reports,  there  is  a  tendency  to  file  the 
report  and  to  virtually  ignore  its  recommendations.  To  see  if  this  was  the 
case,  and  to  review  the  recommendations,  the  Institute  of  Government  and 
Public  Affairs  devoted  its  twelfth  public  affairs  assembly  to  the  topic  of  the 
Kerner  Report  Revisited.  The  Assembly  was  held  at  the  University's  con- 
ference center  at  Robert  Allerton  Park,  Monticello,  Illinois,  January  11-13, 

Judge  Kerner  was  unable  to  participate,  but  he  did  write  that  "You 
and  the  Assembly  are  doing  precisely  what  the  Commission  hoped  would  be 
done  at  a  federal  level  where  there  would  be  an  assembly  point  for  gathering 
information,  analyzing  it  and  drawing  conclusions.  You  have  no  idea  how 
pleased  I  am  that  you  have  assumed  this  responsibility." 

Participating  in  the  Assembly  were  some  forty  Illinois  leaders  from  political 
life,  business,  journalism,  and  the  academic  world.  They  were  chosen  for 
their  knowledge  and  interest  on  the  topic  under  discussion.  The  participants 
were  divided  into  three  round-table  groups  for  discussion  and  a  "Statement 
of  Findings"  was  adopted  by  the  participants  at  a  final  plenary  session. 

To  aid  the  Assembly  participants  in  their  discussion,  background  papers 
were  prepared  on  the  various  areas  that  were  of  concern  to  the  Kerner  Com- 
mission. Emphasis  was  on  the  implementation  of  the  Commission  recom- 
mendations in  Illinois  and  elsewhere.  The  authors  were  given  maximum 
freedom  in  preparing  their  papers,  and  the  views  and  interpretations  are 
their  own.  The  authors  are  from  several  academic  departments  of  the  Uni- 
versity of  Illinois.  We  are  grateful  to  them. 

We  are  also  grateful  to  the  Assembly's  two  keynote  speakers,  Professors 
Mack  Jones  and  David  Olson,  and  to  Chancellor  Jack  Peltason  for  his  opening 
remarks.  Lastly,  we  thank  all  the  participants  for  their  fine  contribution 
to  the  success  of  the  Assembly. 

Samuel  K.  Gove 

Director,  Institute  of  Government 

and  Public  Affairs 






Philip    Meranto 9 


Walter  Franke 13 


J.  Myron  Atkin 25 


Merlin  Taber 31 


Michael   Murray 45 


David  J.  Bordua 59 


Gene   Graham 87 


Thomas  Kitsos  and  Joseph  Pisciotte 97 


Marvin  G.  Weinbaum 119 


Norton  E.  Long 135 


Michael  Parenti 143 



Mack  H.  Jones 153 


David  J.  Olson 163 





The  participants  in  the  Illinois  Assembly  on  the  Kerner  Report 
Revisited  meeting  at  Robert  AUerton  Park,  Monticello,  Illinois, 
January  11-13,  1970,  approved  this  summary  of  their  findings 
at  the  conclusion  of  their  discussions.  Since  there  were  dissents  on 
particular  points,  it  should  not  be  assumed  that  every  participant 
subscribed  to  every  detail  of  the  statements  contained  herein. 

The  Assembly  concludes  that  the  Kerner  Report  [Report  of 
the  National  Advisory  Commission  on  Civil  Disorders)  was  a 
forthright  effort  to  respond  to  the  racial  disturbances  of  1967. 
The  fact  that  the  Commission  dispelled  the  notion  that  outside 
agitators  stimulated  disorder  and  implicated  white  society  as 
being  responsible  for  ghetto  conditions,  and  the  accompanying 
violence,  was  viewed  by  the  Assembly  participants  as  an  impor- 
tant but  incomplete  contribution  to  public  understanding. 

The  Report,  however,  also  had  several  shortcomings.  Its  basic 
finding  that  "white  racism"  was  the  fundamental  cause  of  racial 
disorders  and  the  emphasis  placed  upon  that  finding  by  the  mass 
media  have  given  the  erroneous  impression  that  the  guilt  of  white 
society  is  simply  a  matter  of  prejudicial  attitudes.  The  Kerner 
Commission  Report  failed  to  specify  exactly  what  was  meant 
by  white  racism  and  largely  ignored  the  problem  of  institutional 
racism  —  the  less  overt,  more  subtle  acts  that  sustain  and  per- 
petuate racist  policies  in  virtually  every  American  institution. 
Thus,  the  Report  placed  too  much  emphasis  on  changing  white 
attitudes  and  underplayed  the  importance  of  changing  white 

behavior  and  the  basic  structure  of  such  institutions  as  schools, 
labor  unions,  and  political  parties. 

The  Commission  also  failed  to  note  that  many  whites  may  not 
be  motivated  primarily  by  racial  prejudice,  but  may  be  respond- 
ing to  what  they  feel  is  an  objective  threat  to  their  own  self-inter- 
est. For  example,  white  construction  workers  may  oppose  black 
workers,  not  only  because  of  racial  attitudes,  but  also  because  of 
labor  market  characteristics. 

Additionally,  the  Report  tended  to  dismiss  too  easily  the  grow- 
ing emphasis  of  black  nationalism  within  black  communities  and 
thus  failed  to  deal  with  the  implications  of  this  changing  mood 
for  the  larger  society. 


The  shortcomings  of  the  Report  itself  are  not  so  important 
as  the  shortcomings  of  white  society  in  rooting  out  racism.  The 
background  papers  and  discussions  made  it  clear  that  during 
the  past  two  years  black  people  in  Illinois  have  gained  very  little 
relative  to  white  people  in  such  areas  as  employment,  education, 
and  housing.  In  short,  the  reception  of  the  Report  by  the  govern- 
ment and  the  people  to  which  it  was  addressed  has  been  ex- 
tremely disappointing.  Consequently,  the  Assembly  participants 
strongly  urge  that  this  state  and  the  nation  be  put  on  a  "crisis 
footing,"  which  includes  making  a  major  commitment  of  re- 
sources for  implementing  the  Report's  recommendations.  Such 
a  commitment  would  necessitate  a  considerably  increased  public 
sector  and  a  reallocation  within  the  public  sector  from  military 
to  domestic  expenditures. 

The  stimulation  of  such  a  commitment  requires  the  mobili- 
zation of  political  resources.  Consequently,  the  Assembly  urges 
white  society  to  support  and  facilitate  the  development  of  black 
organizations  and  black  political  action.  Further,  the  Assembly 
urges  all  segments  of  white  society  to  recognize  their  own  self- 
interest  in  achieving  racial  justice  and  to  engage  in  political 
action  directed  toward  that  goal. 

Finally,  the  participants  were  deeply  disturbed  by  the  incli- 
nation of  some  governmental  bodies  to  respond  to  black  needs 

with  repression  rather  than  reform.  America  cannot  be  a  just 
society  if  repression  is  substituted  for  redressing  the  inequalities 
of  our  society. 


Our  extremely  common  response  of  political  leaders  is  the 
creation  of  commissions  whenever  an  especially  intractable  prob- 
lem appears  on  the  political  scene.  Commission  studies  too  often 
serve  to  deflect  attention  from  the  problems  at  hand  and  to  re- 
duce the  level  of  political  activity  that  might  be  undertaken  to 
solve  them.  Regrettably,  the  Kerner  Report,  through  no  fault 
of  the  Commission,  has  fallen  into  this  pattern. 

The  habit  of  appointing  commissions  also  indicates  a  tendency 
to  study  problems  to  death  rather  than  to  institute  meaningful 
action.  The  Assembly  believes  this  particular  problem  has  had 
sufficient  study  by  commissions  and  that  the  energy  of  responsi- 
ble authorities  should  now  be  directed  to  the  implementation  of 
reforms  w  hich  are  essential  to  peace  and  justice  in  the  society. 




On  July  28,  1967,  after  four  summers  of  unprecedented  racial  disorders 
in  American  cities,  President  Lyndon  Johnson  established  the  National  Ad- 
visory Commission  on  Civil  Disorders.  The  President  directed  the  Commission 
to  deal  with  three  basic  questions  concerning  the  outbreak  of  urban  violence : 
(1)  What  happened?  (2)  Why  did  it  happen?  (3)  What  can  be  done  to 
prevent  it  from  happening  again? 

Under  the  direction  of  Governor  Otto  Kerner  of  Illinois  (Chairman) 
and  Mayor  John  V.  Lindsay  of  New  York  City  (Vice  Chairman),  the 
Commission  launched  the  nation's  most  comprehensive  investigation  of  racial 
strife.  Commission  members^  and  their  stafT  visited  riot  cities,  conducted 
numerous  hearings,  and  consulted  with  a  wide  variety  of  knowledgeable 
individuals.  In  March,  1968,  the  Commission  delivered,  to  the  President 
and  the  American  public,   a  581 -page   report  detailing  their  findings. 

Concerning  the  question  of  what  happened,  the  Commission  established 
several  important  facts.  Contrary  to  a  widely  held  public  impression  that 
many  of  the  disorders  were  planned  by  black  extremist  organizations  and/or 
communist  conspirators,  the  Commission  reported  that  it  "found  no  evidence 
that  all  or  any  of  the  disorders  or  the  incidents  that  led  to  them  were  planned 
or  directed  by  any  organization  or  group,  international,  national,  or  local."^ 
While  the  Report  indicated  that  there  was  no  such  entity  as  a  "typical" 
riot,  several  common  features  were  identified.  It  was  found,  for  example, 
that  violence  did  not  erupt  as  a  result  of  a  single  precipitating  event,  but 
was  usually  generated  out  of  a  series  of  tension-building  incidents  which 
occurred  over  a  period  of  time  and  were  capped  by  a  quite  often  routine 
event  (generally  involving  police  action  of  some  sort)  which  triggered  the 
disorder.    Once   the  disorder  broke   out,   the   targets   of  violence   generally 

'  In  addition  to  Chairman  Kerner  and  Vice  Chairman  Lindsay,  the  Commission 
included:  Senator  Fred  R.  Harris;  Senator  Edward  W.  Brooke;  Representative  James 
C.  Corman;  Representative  William  M.  McCullock;  I.  W.  Abel,  President,  United 
Steelworkers  of  America;  Charles  B.  Thornton,  Chairman  of  the  Board,  Litton  In- 
dustries, Inc. ;  Roy  Wilkins,  Executive  Director,  National  Association  for  the  Ad- 
vancement of  Colored  People ;  Katherine  Graham  Peden,  Commissioner  of  Commerce, 
State  of  Kentucky;  and  Herbert  Jenkins,  Chief  of  Police,  Atlanta,  Georgia. 

^Report  of  the  National  Advisory  Commission  on  Civil  Disorders  (New  York: 
Bantam  Books,  1968),  p.  9. 

consisted  of  the  symbols  of  white  society,  authority  figures,  and  property  in 
the  ghetto,  rather  than  white  persons.  The  overwhelming  majority  of  the  indi- 
viduals killed  or  injured  as  a  result  of  the  violence  was  Negro  civilians.  The 
Report  described  the  typical  rioter  in  the  following  manner:  "a  teenager  or 
young  adult,  a  lifetime  resident  of  the  city  in  which  he  rioted,  a  school  drop- 
out; he  was,  nevertheless,  somewhat  better  educated  than  his  nonrioting 
Negro  neighbor,  and  was  usually  under-employed  or  employed  in  a  menial 
job.  He  was  proud  of  his  race,  extremely  hostile  to  both  whites  and  middle- 
class  Negroes,  and,  although  informed  about  politics,  highly  distrustful  of 
the  political  system."^ 

Turning  to  the  question  of  why  the  racial  disorders  occurred,  the  Com- 
mission uncovered  several  basic  causes.  Among  the  various  causes,  the  Report 
concluded  that:  "the  most  fundamental  is  the  racial  attitude  and  behavior 
of  white  Americans  toward  black  Americans. 

.  .  .  White  racism  is  essentially  responsible  for  the  explosive  mixture 
which  has  been  accumulating  in  our  cities  since  the  end  of  World  War  II."* 
In  specifying  the  ingredients  of  this  "explosive  mixture,"  the  Report  included 
such  factors  as: 

1.  Pervasive  discrimination  and  segregation  in  employment,  education, 
and  housing,  which  has  resulted  in  the  continuing  exclusion  of  great  numbers 
of  Negroes  from  the  benefits  of  economic  progress. 

2.  The  concentration  of  impoverished  Negroes  in  major  cities,  creating  a 
growing  crisis  of  deteriorating  facilities  and  services  and  unmet  human  needs. 

3.  The  restriction  of  Negroes  in  ghettos  where  segregation  and  poverty 
converge  on  the  young  to  destroy  opportunity  and  enforce  failure. 

4.  A  backlog  of  frustrated  hopes  as  a  result  of  the  unfilled  expecta- 
tions aroused  by  the  judicial  and  legislative  victories  of  the  Civil  Rights 

5.  The  development  of  a  social  climate  which  tends  to  approve  and 
encourage  violence  as  a  form  of  protest  resulting  from  white  terrorism  directed 
against  nonviolent  protest,  the  open  defiance  of  law  and  federal  authority  by 
state  and  local  officials  resisting  desegregation,  and  the  utilization  of  civil 
disobedience  by  some  protest  groups  who  do  not  adhere  to  nonviolence. 

6.  A  pervasive  feeling  of  powerlessness  among  Negroes  that  there  is  no  ef- 
fective alternative  to  violence  as  a  means  of  achieving  redress  of  grievances 
which  include:  police  practices,  unemployment  and  underemployment, 
inadequate  housing,  inadequate  educational  opportunities,  poor  recreational 
facilities,  and  ineffective  grievance  mechanisms. 

In  summary,  then,  the  Commission  concluded  that  the  basic  underlying 
causes  of  racial  disorders  stemmed  primarily  from  the  actions  and  conditions 

'  Ibid.,  p.  7. 
*  Ibid.,  p.  10. 

created  by  white  Americans.  Focusing  on  the  destructive  environment  of 
the  ghetto,  the  Report  states:  "What  white  Americans  have  never  fully 
understood  —  but  the  Negro  can  never  forget  — is  that  white  society  is 
deeply  implicated  in  the  ghetto.  White  institutions  created  it,  white  insti- 
tutions maintain  it,  and  white  society  condones  it."^ 

After  recounting  the  historical  roots  of  the  basic  causes,  the  Report  in- 
cluded a  series  of  recommendations  to  prevent  the  eruption  of  future  racial 
violence.  Although  numerous  specific  recommendations  were  made,  the 
following  list  indicates  the  more  general  remedies  set  forth  by  the  Commission. 

1.  The  enactment  of  special  programs  in  the  areas  of  housing,  education, 
employment,  and  welfare  to  eliminate  discrimination  and  to  provide  greatly 
expanded  opportunities  for  ghetto  residents. 

2.  Improvement  in  the  channels  of  communications  between  ghetto 
residents  and  government  officials,  including  more  responsive  grievance 

3.  Expansion  of  the  opportunities  for  ghetto  residents  to  participate 
in  all  phases  of  decision-making. 

4.  Improved  police  protection  in  ghetto  communities  and  improved 
police  practices  relative  to  the  treatment  of  black  citizens. 

5.  Improvement  in  the  training  of  police  so  as  to  achieve  better  control 
of  incidents  which  could  lead  to  future  disorder,  and  the  refrainment  from  the 
indiscriminate  and  excessive  use  of  police  force.  "The  Commission  condemns 
moves  to  equip  police  departments  with  mass  destruction  weapons,  such 
as  automatic  rifles,  machine  guns,  and  tanks." 

Looking  toward  the  future,  the  Kerner  Commission  Report  indicated  that 
American  society  could  pursue  three  basic  policy  alternatives.  It  could  main- 
tain the  present  policies  which  allocate  a  meager  proportion  of  the  nation's 
wealth  to  the  disadvantaged  and  have  failed  to  achieve  an  integrated  society. 
Alternatively,  it  could  follow  a  policy  of  "enrichment,"  which  would  dra- 
matically improve  the  quality  of  ghetto  life  but  abandon  integration  as  a  goal. 
Or,  America  could  adopt  a  policy  of  integration  by  combining  ghetto  "en- 
richment" with  programs  designed  to  disperse  blacks  from  central  cities. 

The  Commission  warned  that:  "To  continue  present  policies  is  to  make 
permanent  the  division  of  our  country  into  two  societies;  one,  largely  Negro 
and  poor,  located  in  central  cities;  the  other,  predominantly  white  and  affluent, 
located  in  the  suburbs  and  in  outlying  areas."*' 

Which  of  the  above  choices  has  been  pursued?  In  what  direction  are 
American  race  relations  heading  and  why?  These  were  the  basic  questions 
posed  at  the  Institute  of  Government  and  Public  AfTairs  1970  Assembly.  In 
order  to  stimulate  an  informed  discussion  on  such  questions,  several  partici- 

nbld.,  p.  2. 
'  Ibid.,  p.  22. 

pants  were  invited  to  write  background  papers  in  preparation  for  the  Assembly 
and  two  guest  speakers  delivered  papers. 

The  composite  picture  which  emerged  from  the  papers  and  the  talks  is  not 
an  encouraging  one.  Although  some  marginal  positive  gains  were  identified, 
those  gains  were  clearly  the  exceptions  to  the  general  conclusion  of  virtually 
all  the  authors  that  the  Kerner  Commission  recommendations  have  been 
largely  ignored.  Indeed,  Professor  Mack  Jones  of  Atlanta  University  maintains 

.  .  .  things  have  gotten  worse  for  Black  people.  Some  welfare  programs  are  being 
cut;  the  Nixon-Mitchell  administration  is  obviously  unfriendly  toward  the  Black 
liberation  struggle;  hostile  forces  have  been  sent  to  city  halls  and  state  houses  in 
alarming  numbers;  police  forces  around  the  country  have  stockpiled  monstrous 
arsenals  to  pacify  Black  communities;  the  McClelland  subcommittee  has  published 
more  than  20  volumes,  including  mugshots,  on  radical  groups  paving  the  way  for 
quick  identification  and  perhaps  elimination;  demographers  tell  us  that  Black  in- 
migration  to  the  cities  will  continue,  and  we  do  not  need  demographers  to  tell  us 
that  whites  will  continue  to  run  to  the  suburbs.  Thus,  cities  are  likely  to  become 
impoverished  islands  inhabitated  by  nationalist-oriented  Black  people  and  sur- 
rounded by  affluent  suburbs  inhabited  by  nationalist-oriented  \vhite  people. 

Why  the  society  continues  to  move  in  this  disastrous  direction  was  not  com- 
pletely answered.  However,  several  of  the  writers  did  identify  factors  which 
have  contributed  to  the  drift.  Professor  Olson,  for  example,  argued  that  it  was 
misleading  to  assume,  as  many  have,  that  riot  commission  reports  are  capable 
of  stimulating  significant  political  change.  In  his  estimation,  "riot  commissions 
are  devices  by  -which  dominant  power  interests  deflect  demands  for  power 
redistribution  in  the  aftermath  of  civil  violence."  In  this  sense,  riot  com- 
missions and  their  recommendations  are  instmments  which  essentially  reduce 
the  pressure  on  public  officials  to  take  meaningful  action.  Additionally,  Pro- 
fessor Weinbaum  pointed  out  that  the  Kerner  Report  did  not  present  its 
recommendations  in  a  manner  that  was  sensitive  to  the  realities  of  gaining 
majorities  in  Congress  for  individual  recommendations.  This,  in  fact,  he  ex- 
plains, is  why  the  Commission's  proposals  received  so  little  consideration  on 
Capitol  Hill. 

Professors  Long  and  Parenti,  however,  suggest  that  the  problem  is  con- 
siderably deeper  than  the  form  in  which  proposals  for  change  are  presented. 
Long  argues  that  "If  what  the  Kerner  Commission  calls  for  is  indeed  neces- 
sary, it  is  probably  beyond  the  power  of  American  society  as  presently  con- 
stituted." He  notes  that  the  political  problem  is  a  vicious  circle  in  which  the 
powerless  cannot  produce  change  because  they  are  powerless.  According  to 
Parenti,  this  circumstance  challenges  the  commonly  accepted  notion  that 
American  institutions,  as  they  are  presently  constructed  and  controlled,  are 
capable  of  producing  significant  reform.  "Given  the  'three  R's'  of  politics  — 
Reform,  Repression,  and  Revolution  —  it  can  no  longer  be  taken  as  an  article 
of  faith  that  we  are  movinar  toward  the  first." 




Two  years,  the  time  period  since  the  Kerner  Commission  Report,  is  a 
ver>'  short  time  for  assessing  the  employment  progress  of  any  group  in  the 
labor  force.  The  American  labor  force  comprises  over  80  million  persons, 
nearly  90  per  cent  of  whom  are  white.  In  a  typical  year,  between  1.5  and  2.0 
million  additional  jobs  are  created.  By  virtue  of  the  relative  sizes  of  the  white- 
nonwhite  components  of  the  labor  force  and  new  entrants  into  it,  most  of  the 
new  jobs  that  are  created,  as  well  as  existing  jobs  that  open  up  because  of 
quits,  retirements,  and  deaths,  will  be  filled  by  whites.  Using  even  the  most 
optimistic  assumptions  and  goals  for  improvement  in  the  job  status  of  Negroes, 
therefore,  dramatic  change  is  likely  to  occur  over  decades  rather  than  years. 

Nevertheless,  it  should  be  useful  to  look  at  the  job  situation  for  Negroes 
currently  and  in  the  recent  past,  consider  what  is  required  to  continue  in  the 
long  run  the  progress  that  has  been  made  recently,  and  examine  current  pro- 
grams designed  to  improve  the  employment  prospects  of  Negroes  and  other 
disadvantaged  groups  in  light  of  the  Kerner  Commission  recommendations. 

The  Job  Situation 

The  economic  goal  for  Negroes  is  full  equality.  From  the  point  of  view  of 
emplo)Tnent,  this  can  be  interpreted  to  mean  that  Negro  workers  should  be 
represented  proportionately  in  the  major  occupational  groupings.^  Several 
factors,  including  the  uneven  geographic  distribution  of  the  Negro  labor  force, 
will  result  in  departures  from  a  common  occupational  distribution  for  whites 
and  nonwhites  even  in  a  situation  of  equality,  but  comparable  distributions  for 
the  two  groups  can  ser\'e  as  a  rough  norm  of  equality. 

The  data  in  Table  1  show  the  job  situation  currently  and  in  the  recent 
past.  As  is  well  known,  Negroes  are  grossly  overrepresented  in  the  unskilled 
laborer  and  service  categories.^  Although  they  comprise  less  than  1 1  per  cent 
of  total  employment,  Negroes  are  nearly  25  per  cent  of  all  unskilled  laborers, 
44  per  cent  of  private  household  workers,  and  over  23  per  cent  of  all  service 

'  This  standard  is  suggested  by  Otto  Eckstein,  Education,  Employment  and  Negro 
Equality  (Washington,  D.C.:  U.S.  Department  of  Labor,  Seminar  on  Manpower 
Policy  and  Program,  October,  1968),  p.  4. 

"  The  figures  are  for  nonwhites.  Since  Negroes  represent  over  four-fifths  of  all 
nonwhites,  the  figures  can  be  used  to  approximate  the  situation  for  Negroes. 

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workers.  For  the  most  part,  although  important  exceptions  exist,  these  are 
occupational  groups  in  which  pay  and  status  are  relatively  low.  Negroes  are 
seriously  underrepresented,  on  the  other  hand,  in  occupational  groups  which 
are  generally  better  paid  and  more  attractive  in  other  respects.  They  com- 
prise between  3  per  cent  and  8  per  cent  of  total  employment  in  the  skilled 
craftsmen  and  white-collar  occupations. 

Although  these  figures  show  a  serious  departure  from  the  norm  of  equality, 
they  also  represent  a  considerable  improvement  from  the  recent  past.  Com- 
pared with  1962,  and  even  with  as  recent  a  period  as  1967,  the  proportion 
that  Negroes  represent  of  employment  in  the  skilled  craftsmen  and  in  each 
of  the  white-collar  categories  has  increased.  The  gains  have  been  greatest  in 
the  professional  and  technical,  clerical,  and  craftsmen  categories.  Only  slight 
improvement  has  occurred  in  the  sales  and  in  the  managers,  officials,  and 
proprietors  categories. 

Clearly,  new  and  greater  employment  opportunities  have  presented  them- 
selves to  Negro  members  of  the  labor  force  during  the  past  half  dozen  years. 
Prompted  by  the  efforts  and  activities  of  civil  rights  groups  and  the  require- 
ments of  the  law,  significant  changes  in  the  attitude  of  many  employers  toward 
the  hiring  of  black  workers  has  occurred.  And  some  movement  in  the  direc- 
tion of  equality  of  opportunity  has  also  taken  place  in  those  portions  of  the 
labor  movement  previously  noted  for  their  poor  record. 

A  further  measure  of  inequality  between  the  races  is  the  extent  of  unemploy- 
ment. For  many  years  the  rate  of  unemployment  for  Negroes  has  been  ap- 
proximately double  that  of  whites  and  has  frequently  been  greater.  The  latest 
figures  on  unemployment  stand  precisely  in  that  relationship.  In  November, 
1969,  3.1  per  cent  of  the  white  and  6.2  per  cent  of  the  nonwhite  labor  force 
were  unemployed.  This  situation  represents  a  slight  relative  improvement  for 
Negroes  from  that  of  a  year  earlier,  when  the  rates  for  the  two  groups  were 
3.0  and  6.5  per  cent,  respectively.  Nevertheless,  the  problem  of  closing  the 
unemplo)'ment  gap  between  whites  and  Negroes  has  thus  far  proven  in- 
tractable. The  most  serious  problem  has  been  and  remains  the  very  high  level 
of  unemployment  among  Negro  teenagers,  for  whom  unemployment  rates 
have  regularly  been  in  the  range  of  20  to  30  per  cent  in  recent  years. 

Prospects  for  Improvement  in  the  Job  Situation 

The  improvements  in  the  Negro  job  situation  represented  by  the  shifts 
in  the  Negro  occupational  distribution  are  to  a  considerable  extent  the  result 
of  the  upgrading  of  Negroes  who  were  previously  in  jobs  which  underutilized 
their  educational  and  skill  level.  This  upgrading  has  been  relatively  easy 
because  it  could  be  accomplished  by  moving  Negroes  into  higher  level  jobs 
for  which  they  were  already  qualified  by  educational  background  and  skill. 
This  process  will  undoubtedly  continue  to  take  place  in  the  future. 

Whites  and  Negroes  with  similar  educational  backgrounds,  though  not 
necessarily  with  similar  experience  or  training,  still  have  strikingly  different 
occupational  distributions.  These  distributions  are  shown  in  Table  2  for 
workers  whose  highest  year  of  schooling  completed  is  the  fourth  year  of  high 
school  and  for  workers  who  have  completed  one  or  more  years  of  college. 
Even  allowing  for  differences  in  the  quality  of  education  received  and  for 
differences  in  experience  and  skill  training,  the  figures  suggest  that  room  exists 
for  additional  occupational  upgrading  of  the  Negro  labor  force. 

Nevertheless,  this  source  of  occupational  upgrading  will  gradually  dis- 
appear, and  the  question  is  raised  of  whether  recent  rates  of  progress  can  be 
maintained.  The  probable  answer  is  that  increased  efforts  will  be  required  to 
continue  progress  at  the  same  rate. 

Estimates  have  been  made  of  the  speed  at  which  Negroes  will  approach 
the  occupational  status  of  whites  if  progress  continues  at  the  rate  of  recent 
years.^  The  estimates  are  made  for  the  year  1985,  when  Negro  employment 
is  expected  to  represent  12  per  cent  of  the  total.  The  estimates  indicate  that 
Negroes  would  have : 

10.6  per  cent  of  professional  and  technical  jobs, 
8.4  per  cent  of  clerical  jobs, 
6.0  per  cent  of  sales  jobs,  and 
8.8  per  cent  of  skilled  craftsmen  jobs. 

Negroes  would  still  be  heavily  overrepresented  in  the  categories  in  which 
they  now  predominate,  in  that  they  would  comprise  about  24  per  cent  of  all 
nonfarm  laborers,  38  per  cent  of  private  household  workers,  and  nearly  25 
per  cent  of  farm  laborers. 

Policies  for  Improved  Employment  Opportunities 

The  progress  that  has  been  made  thus  far  toward  equality  of  employment 
opportunity  has  in  at  least  two  respects  been  possible  because  of  particularly 
favorable  circumstances  for  improvement.  One  is  the  gap  that  existed  be- 
tween the  jobs  many  Negroes  were  engaged  in  and  the  jobs  for  which  they 
were  qualified.  As  has  been  already  indicated,  this  source  of  improvement  will 
gradually  disappear.  The  other  is  the  high  level  of  economic  activity  in  the 
United  States  of  the  past  half  dozen  years.  Further  progress  will  be  dependent 
upon  maintaining  a  full  emplo)'ment  economy. 

In  addition,  larger  and  more  effective  private  and  public  policies  will  need 
to  be  implemented  if  we  are  to  approach  the  goal  of  full  emplo)Tnent  equality 
at  an  acceptable  rate  of  speed. 

Education.  The  link  between  educational  attainment  and  occupational 
achievement  is  clear.  The  typical  professional  and  technical  job  requires  a 
college  degree  or  at  least  some  education  at  the  college  level.  A  high  school 
'  Eckstein,  op.  cit.,  pp.  5-7. 

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diploma  is  the  norm  for  managerial,  clerical,  sales,  and  skilled  craftsmen  jobs. 
Conservative  projections  of  trends  since  1948  indicate  that  the  typical  semi- 
skilled operative  and  service  job  will  be  held  by  a  high  school  graduate  in 
1985  (see  Table  3). 

Eckstein  has  estimated  that  to  maintain  recent  rates  of  occupational 
progress  through  1985,  68  per  cent  of  the  nonwhite  labor  force  needs  to  be 
high  school  graduates  and  15  per  cent  should  be  college  graduates.  To  reach 
occupational  status  comparable  to  that  of  whites  by  1985,  the  comparable 
figures  should  be  75  per  cent  and  17  per  cent,  respectively.*  As  of  1968,  less 
than  43  per  cent  of  the  nonwhite  labor  force  were  high  school  graduates,  and 
less  than  7  per  cent  had  completed  college.^  Although  the  level  of  educational 
attainment  among  Negroes  has  been  increasing  rapidly,  a  large  gap  will  exist 
between  what  is  required  and  what  is  attained  unless  the  rate  of  college 
attendance  is  increased  substantially  and  the  rate  of  high  school  completion 
among  Negroes  is  increased  very  substantially.  At  the  current  rate  of  progress, 
Negroes  will  not  have  attained  the  required  educational  levels  as  a  group  until 
the  end  of  this  century.® 

The  implications  of  this  analysis  for  educational  policy  are  considered  in 
detail  in  another  paper  (Atkin).  Suffice  it  to  say  that  substantially  greater 
investments  in  education  will  be  required  by  government,  Negro  students, 
and  their  families.  In  the  past  the  return  on  investment  in  education  has  been 
much  lower  for  Negroes  than  for  whites,  and  the  result  was  that  the  incentive 
for  educational  attainment  was  lacking.  But  this  situation  is  changing  as  em- 
ployment discrimination  against  Negroes  declines,  and  it  can  be  anticipated 
that  the  returns  to  Negroes  on  educational  investment  will  rise  rapidly. 

Hiring  Policies  and  Manpower  Utilization.  It  is  apparent  that  if  improve- 
ment of  the  occupational  status  of  Negroes  waits  entirely  on  the  upgrading  of 
the  educational  level  of  the  Negro  work  force,  the  pace  of  advancement  will  be 
unacceptably  slow.  To  some  extent  the  link  that  has  developed  between  edu- 
cational and  occupational  attainment  will  have  to  be  relaxed.  The  high  school 
diploma  has  become  the  necessary  entry  qualification  for  an  ever-increasing 
number  of  jobs,  many  of  them  jobs  that  were  once  performed  and  still  are 
performed  by  workers  with  lesser  levels  of  education.  To  some  extent  a  re- 
duction in  educational  requirements  for  some  jobs  will  come  about  through 
the  force  of  developing  trends.  If  full  emplo^Tnent  is  maintained  consistently, 
the  resulting  tight  labor  markets  will  result  in  shortages  of  labor  unless  entry 
requirements  are  relaxed.  In  addition,  however,  special  efforts  need  to  be 
made  by  governments,  companies,  and  unions  to  open  occupational  doors  to 
Negroes  who  do  not  meet  the  usual  formal  job  requirements.    In  the  white- 

*  Ibid.,  p.  8. 

^  U.S.  Department  of  Labor,  Statistics  on  Manpower:    A  Supplement  to  the  Man- 
power Report  of  the  President  (March,  1969),  pp.  37-38. 
'  Eckstein,  op.  cit.,  pp.  9-10. 

MARCH,  1967 

Occupational  group 


,  1967 





White-collar  workers: 

Professional  and  technical 




Managers,  officials,  and  proprietors 












Blue-collar  workers: 

Craftsmen  and  foremen 








Nonfarm  laborers 




Service  workers: 

Private  household 








Farm  workers: 

Farmers  and  farm  managers 




Farm  laborers  and  foremen 




Total  —  all  occupational  groups 




Sources:  Data  for  1967  are  from  U.S.  Department  of  Labor,  Statistics  on  Manpower:  A 
Supplement  to  the  Manpower  Report  of  the  President  (March,  1969),  pp.  41-42.  Figures  for  1985 
are  projections  of  trends  since  1948  and  are  found  in  Otto  Eckstein,  Education,  Employment,  and 
Negro  Equality  (Washington,  D.C.:  U.S.  Department  of  Labor,  Seminar  on  Manpower  Policy  and 
Program,  October,  1968),  p.  8. 

collar  occupations,  affirmative  actions  by  employers,  along  with  equality  of 
educational  opportunity,  are  the  key  elements.  Perhaps  more  importantly, 
in  the  case  of  blue-collar  jobs,  on  which  the  largest  number  of  Negroes  are 
no\v  emplo)ed,  unions  will  bear  a  major  responsibility.  As  one  example,  it 
may  be  necessary  for  unions  and  union  members  to  make  concessions  on  such 
matters  as  probationary  periods,  seniority,  and  entry  requirements  to  training 
programs  in  order  for  meaningful  progress  to  be  made. 

Many  examples  of  efTorts  in  these  directions  already  exist.  In  the  auto 
industry,  and  particularly  Ford  Motor  Company,  standard  job  application 
procedures  and  reading  and  arithmetic  tests  have  been  abandoned.  Addi- 
tionally applicants  are  not  disqualified  either  for  lack  of  experience  or  the 
existence  of  police  records.  The  program,  which  has  full  union  support,  also 
includes  intensive  efTorts  to  recruit  in  the  ghetto.  The  Joint  Council  of 
Teamsters  in  Los  Angeles,  with  the  help  of  a  Department  of  Labor  grant,  has 
instituted  its  Transportation  Opportunities  Program  (TOP),  which  trains  and 
creates  employment  for  disadvantaged  residents  of  Los  Angeles.  Men  are 
trained  as  truck  drivers,  dock  workers,  warehousemen,  bus  drivers,  hostlers, 
heavy  duty  servicemen,  brake  and  front-end  alignment  men,  diagnostic  land 
and  tune-up  specialists,  tire  repairmen,  and  service  station  operators.  The 
training  is  available  to  the  unemployed,  the  underemployed,  and  Teamster 

members  who  wish  to  upgrade  their  skills.  The  AFL-CIO  has  set  up  a  non- 
profit organization  called  the  Human  Resources  Development  Institute  to 
attempt  to  mobilize  the  resources  of  labor  in  recruiting,  training,  employing, 
and  upgrading  the  hard-core  unemployed  and  the  underemployed/ 

These  types  of  efforts,  while  far  from  typical  or  universal,  reflect  a  new 
readiness  to  depart  from  the  status  quo  in  some  sectors  of  industry  and  labor. 
That  there  is  resistance  to  opening  the  gates  of  occupational  opportunity  is 
revealed  by  the  fact  that  since  1964  the  Federal  Equal  Employment  Oppor- 
tunity Commission  has  received  over  40,000  charges  of  discrimination  in 
violation  of  Title  VII  of  the  Civil  Rights  Act  and  has  found  discrimination  in 
60  per  cent  of  them.  The  Commission  itself  is  attempting  to  encourage  the 
adoption  of  affirmative  action  programs,  particularly  in  industry.  Its  most 
recent  activity  in  this  direction  was  a  three-day  workshop  for  40  executives 
of  national  trade  associations  in  which  it  attempted  to  encourage  association 
activities  in  the  areas  of  recruitment,  hiring,  testing,  and  upgrading  of 
minority  group  persons. 

Finally,  members  of  minority  group  communities  have  taken  increased 
responsibility  and  demanded  and  obtained  increased  control  over  their  own 
progress.  This  trend  has  been  particularly  evident  in  the  areas  of  education 
and  Negro  entrepreneurship.  Black  caucuses  in  labor  unions  have  also  de- 
veloped, and  if  the  Nixon  manpower  proposals  embodied  in  the  Manpower 
Training  Act  of  1969  become  law,  the  result  will  probably  be  more  com- 
munity responsibility  for  federal  manpower  programs.  These  developments 
have  frequently  resulted  in  serious  conflict  and  confrontation,  but  they  may 
also  eventually  result  in  progress  in  the  employment  area  that  would  not 
otherwise  occur. 

Federal  Manpower  Programs.  In  fiscal  year  1970  the  federal  govern- 
ment is  spending  about  1 .6  billion  dollars  on  a  variety  of  manpower  programs 
designed  primarily  to  give  training,  work  experience,  or  related  supportive 
services  to  unemployed  or  underemployed  persons  in  an  effort  to  prepare  them 
for  entry  into  jobs.  The  $1.6  billion  figure,  which  compares  with  the  $1.4 
billion  allocated  for  manpower  programs  in  fiscal  year  1969,  is  expected  to 
provide  manpower  services  for  slightly  over  one  million  workers.*  The  main 
programs  in  terms  of  number  of  persons  served  and  number  of  dollars  spent 
include  the  Job  Opportunities  in  the  Business  Sector  (JOBS)  program,  the 
Concentrated  Employment  Program  (CEP),  the  institutional  and  on-the-job 
Manpower  Development  and  Training  Act  (MDTA)   programs,  the  Neigh- 

'  Details  on  these  and  other  programs  can  be  found  in  "Business,  Labor,  and 
Jobs  in  the  Ghetto,"  Issues  in  Industrial  Society,  Vol.  1,  No.  1  (Ithaca:  New  York 
State  School  of  Industrial  and  Labor  Relations,   1969),  pp.   3-18. 

*  Because  an  unknown  number  of  persons  receive  services  from  more  than  one 
manpower  program,  the  number  of  different  persons  who  will  be  beneficiaries  will  be 
less  than  the  one  million  figure  indicated,  perhaps  by  a  considerable  margin. 

borhood  Youth  Corps,  the  Job  Corps,  and  the  Work  Incentive  Program 

For  the  most  part,  these  programs  can  be  viewed  as  remedial ;  that  is,  they 
are  designed  to  pick  up  people  for  whom  the  regular  educational  and  training 
institutions  were  unsuccessful  in  preparing  them  for  productive  contributions 
to  the  economy.  Most  of  the  enrollees  in  these  programs  are  disadvantaged; 
that  is,  they  are  members  of  poverty  households  and  have  other  characteristics, 
such  as  low  levels  of  education,  that  put  them  at  a  serious  disadvantage  in 
the  competition  for  jobs.  Disproportionately  large  numbers  of  the  recipients 
of  the  manpower  services  provided  by  these  programs  are  Negroes.  In  1968, 
Negroes  comprised  45  per  cent  of  the  institutional  and  33  per  cent  of  the 
on-the-job  MDTA  trainees,  over  40  per  cent  of  the  Neighborhood  Youth 
Corps,  81  per  cent  of  those  in  the  Concentrated  Employment  Program,  74 
per  cent  of  those  in  the  relatively  small  New  Careers  program,  and  a  large 
majority  of  trainees  in  the  JOBS  program  of  the  National  Alliance  of 

Manpower  programs  are  aimed  primarily  at  removing  persons  from  the 
ranks  of  the  unemployed  and  from  sub-marginal,  low-paying  jobs.  To  the 
extent  that  the  programs  are  successful,  they  prepare  workers  for  entry-level 
jobs.  They  do  not  make  a  large  contribution,  although  there  are  exceptions, 
to  moving  people  to  the  higher  levels  of  the  occupational  hierarchy.  They  are 
nevertheless  important,  and  the  Nixon  Administration  is  departing  from  past 
practice  by  making  funds  available  in  1970  for  the  training  costs  of  upgrading 
persons  who  are  already  on  the  job,  particularly  persons  who  are  newly  placed 
in  employment.  The  ultimate  goal  of  the  shift  in  policy,  according  to  Arnold 
Wever,  Assistant  Secretary  of  Labor  for  Manpower,  is  "not  just  to  get  jobs 
at  the  lower  rung  of  the  ladder,  but  to  provide  institutions  and  incentives  so 
that  there  will  be  a  normal  distribution  of  opportunities  throughout  the  entire 
occupational  range."  In  addition,  the  shift  to  more  emphasis  on  upgrading 
anticipates  that  as  the  disadvantaged  move  up  the  job  ladder  they  will  vacate 
entry-level  jobs  and  thereby  clear  the  way  for  other  disadvantaged  people  to 
obtain  a  start  in  the  job  market.  In  part,  the  shift  has  grown  out  of  the  fear 
that  entry-level  jobs  will  become  clogged  with  the  newly-employed  disad- 
vantaged, and  inadequate  numbers  of  job  slots  will  be  available  for  new 
graduates  of  manpower  programs. 

The  Nixon  Administration  has  also  reallocated  manpower  funds,  which 
has  resulted  in  a  two-and-one-half-fold  increase  in  the  JOBS  program  and 
reductions  in  the  size  of  the  Neighborhood  Youth  Corps  and  the  Job  Corps. 
The  expansion  of  the  JOBS  program  reflects  the  intention  of  the  Administra- 
tion to  place  increased  reliance  on  the  private  business  sector  to  provide  train- 
ing and  jobs  for  the  disadvantaged.  The  decrease  in  resources  devoted  to  the 
Job  Corps  is  the  result  of  the  Secretary  of  Labor's  decision  to  close  59  of  the 


existing  109  Job  Corps  Centers  on  July  1,  1969,  The  Job  Coi-ps  is  a  very 
expensive  program  and  has  been  afflicted  with  high  rates  of  dropout.  The 
Labor  Department  has  indicated  that  it  eventually  plans  to  replace  some  of 
the  Job  Corps  Centers  with  30  new  inner-city  and  near-city  training  centers  in 
which  the  training  emphasis  will  be  shifted  from  conservation  work  to  in- 
dustrial occupations  and  job  placement. 

The  effectiveness  of  manpower  programs  has  suffered  from  its  fraction- 
alized  approach  to  manpower  problems  arising  from  multiple  funding  and 
administrative  agencies  and  a  weak  apparatus  for  coordinating  activities.  The 
result  has  sometimes  been  duplication  of  services  and  a  poor  distribution  of 
activity  with  respect  to  priority  objectives.  In  the  Administration's  proposed 
Manpower  Training  Act  of  1969,  the  problem  of  coordination  would  be 
met  by  a  decentralization  of  the  responsibility  for  developing  manpower  pro- 
grams to  states  and  local  areas  and  a  scrapping  of  the  present  multitude  of 
separate,  categorical  programs. 

Negroes  in  the  Construction  Trades.  Special  mention  needs  to  be  made 
of  the  increasingly  intensive  demands  by  coalitions  of  Negro  and  other  groups 
for  more  rapid  progress  in  increasing  the  employment  of  blacks  in  the  build- 
ing trades.  Disputes  have  occurred  in  several  major  cities,  some  of  which 
involved  picketing  of  construction  sites  in  an  effort  to  enforce  demands  on 
contractors  and  unions  to  admit  more  blacks  to  the  various  trades  and  to 
make  stronger  efforts  to  include  blacks  in  apprenticeship  and  other  training 

Efforts  to  settle  the  disputes  have  taken  several  forms.  Perhaps  the  most 
controversial  settlement  resulted  in  the  "Philadelphia  Plan,"  which  was  put 
in  force  by  executive  order  using  the  government's  contract  compliance  au- 
thority. Under  this  plan  bidders  on  federally-assisted  construction  work  are 
required  to  submit  affirmative  action  plans  setting  forth  specific  goals  for 
the  utilization  of  minority  employees.  The  plan  requires  minority  employment 
in  six  skilled  crafts  in  Philadelphia  to  reach  levels  of  about  20  to  25  per  cent 
within  four  years. 

The  Comptroller  General  of  the  United  States  has  taken  the  position 
that  the  plan  is  illegal  under  the  1964  Civil  Rights  Act  because  it  requires 
government  contractors  to  take  race  into  consideration  in  their  hiring.  He  has 
also  said  that  he  will  not  approve  expenditures  of  federal  funds  for  contracts 
made  under  the  plan.  The  AFL-CIO  Building  Trades  Department  has  ex- 
pressed unalterable  opposition  to  the  plan  and  labeled  it  an  unlawful  quota 

Nevertheless,  the  Labor  Department  has  issued  an  order  implementing 
the  Philadelphia  Plan  and  has  begun  analysis  of  minority  employment  in  the 
building  trades  in  other  cities  with  a  view  toward  possible  establishment  of 
similar  plans.    This  development  is  of  particular  interest  because  it  repre- 


sents  one  of  the  strongest  governmental  efforts  to  bring  about  minorit)'  prog- 
ress in  emplo)Tnent  through  contract  compliance.  It  is  also  of  interest  be- 
cause it  was  attempted  at  a  time  when  other  governmental  policies  were 
producing  high  interest  rates  and  a  resulting  depression  in  the  contract  con- 
struction industry.  Thus,  its  efforts  to  expand  minority  emplo)-ment  by  way 
of  contract  compliance  is  at  least  partially  offset  by  policies  which  restrict 
the  job  opportunities  available. 

The  Kerner  Commission  Recommendations 

The  central  recommendation  of  the  Kerner  Commission  for  meeting  the 
job  needs  of  the  unemployed  and  the  underemployed  was  for  a  program  that 
would  create  one  million  new  jobs  in  the  public  sector  and  one  million  new 
jobs  in  the  private  sector  in  three  years.  The  Commission  felt  that  new  jobs 
in  the  public  sector  could  be  provided  quickly,  particularly  at  the  local  level, 
where  there  are  "Vast  unmet  needs  in  education,  health,  recreation,  public 
safety,  sanitation,  and  other  important  municipal  services."  For  additional 
jobs  in  the  private  sector  for  the  hard-core  unemployed,  the  Commission 
recommended  that  private  enterprise  be  subsidized  in  "a  massive  additional 
spur  to  job  development"  to  cover  the  extra  costs  of  supportive  services  and 
training  necessary  for  steady  emplo)Tnent. 

Other  "basic  strategies"  proposed  by  the  Commission  included:  consoli- 
dation by  function  of  existing  programs  aimed  at  recruiting,  training,  and 
job  development;  more  emphasis  on  the  problem  of  motivating  the  hard- 
core unemployed;  removal  by  both  public  agencies  and  private  employers 
of  artificial  barriers  to  employment  and  promotion;  and  validation  of  testing 
procedures  or  replacement  of  testing  with  work  samples  or  actual  job  tr)Outs. 

Concerning  the  coordination  of  the  many  manpower  programs,  the  Com- 
mission recommended  that  every  cit)'  establish  a  comprehensive  manpower 
recruitment  and  service  agency  with  authority  to  direct  the  coordination  of 
all  manpower  programs  in  the  locality,  including  those  of  the  Federal-State 
Employment  Service,  the  communit)-  action  agencies,  and  other  local  groups. 
Relative  to  job  development  and  placement  in  private  industry^,  the  Com- 
mission indicated  that  "it  may  be  helpful  now  to  create  a  federally-chartered 
corporation  with  authority  to  undertake  the  coordination  of  the  private 
sector  job  program."  For  financing  the  new  jobs  called  for  in  the  private 
sector,  increases  from  the  $1,000  per  year  to  at  least  $3,500  in  the  direct- 
reimbursement  system  in  use  for  on-the-job  training  was  recommended,  as 
well  as  adoption  of  a  tax  credit  system  for  employers  expanding  their  em- 
plo)'ment  of  the  hard-core  unemployed. 

Taking  first  the  recommendation  for  job  creation  in  the  private  sector, 
the  principles  suggested  by  the  Kerner  Commission  have  been  made  opera- 
tive in  the  JOBS  program  of  the  National  Alliance  of  Businessmen.    The 


Alliance  coordinates  the  work  of  obtaining  commitments  from  private  firms 
to  hire  the  disadvantaged  and  provides  assistance  to  the  firm  in  contracting 
with  the  Labor  Department  for  training  subsidies.  The  subsidies  provided 
can  be  as  high  as  $3,500  per  trainee  per  year,  the  figure  recommended  by 
the  Commission.  The  size  of  the  program,  however,  falls  short  of  the  Com- 
mission suggestion  of  one  million  jobs  in  three  years.  At  the  end  of  the  first 
year  on  June  30,  1969,  somewhat  over  100,000  persons  were  in  training  or 
employment  under  the  program.  The  second-year  goal  is  230,000,  and  the 
three-year  total  expected  to  be  trained  and  employed  under  the  program 
is  614,000.  The  program  has  been  expanded  from  the  original  50  large  cities 
to  include  the  entire  United  States,  although  the  National  Alliance's  volun- 
tary (nonsubsidized)  training  efforts  will  be  confined  to  125  metropolitan 
areas.  For  the  first  time  in  1970,  federal  funds  will  be  available  for  pro- 
grams of  upgrading  the  disadvantaged  already  on  the  job. 

The  JOBS  program  has  had  considerable  success  in  mobilizing  business 
firms  to  increase  their  training  and  hiring  of  Negroes  and  other  disadvan- 
taged workers.  The  main  question  about  the  program  is  whether  new  jobs 
are  being  created  for  the  disadvantaged,  which  was  the  Kerner  Commission 
recommendation;  or  whether  existing  jobs  are  more  frequently  being  filled 
by  the  disadvantaged.   It  is  probably  more  the  latter  than  the  former. 

The  Kerner  Commission  recommendation  for  the  creation  of  one  million 
new  jobs  for  the  hard-core  unemployed  in  the  public  sector  has  gone  largely 
unrealized.  Two  small  programs.  New  Careers  and  Operation  Mainstream, 
are  the  only  federal  programs  of  public  employment  aimed  particularly  at 
employing  the  unemployed  and  disadvantaged.  The  two  programs  together 
provide  employment  opportunities  for  less  than  17,000  people. 

The  cost  of  the  Kerner  Commission  proposals  for  the  creation  of  jobs  in 
the  public  sector  would  alone  have  exceeded  the  total  amounts  being  spent 
at  the  time  on  all  existing  manpower  programs.  W.  Willard  Wirtz,  Secretary 
of  Labor  at  the  time,  supported  the  purposes  of  the  Emergency  Employment 
and  Training  Act  of  1968,  which  would  have  provided  funds  for  the  creation 
of  1.2  million  new  jobs  each  in  the  private  and  public  sectors  over  a  four- 
year  period,  but  objected  to  the  establishment  of  still  additional  manpower 
programs  and  indicated  a  preference  for  additional  financial  support  for 
existing  programs. 

As  some  of  the  earlier  discussion  has  indicated,  steps  have  been  taken 
toward  solution  of  the  problem  of  Negro  employment  in  directions  suggested 
by  the  Kerner  Commission,  including  more  emphasis  on  contract  compliance, 
improved  coordination  of  existing  manpower  programs,  and  reduction  of 
artificial  barriers  in  employment  and  promotion.  The  "massive"  investment 
in  programs  to  meet  the  needs  of  the  unemployed  and  underemployed  sug- 
gested by  the  Commission  and  required  to  bring  about  full  equality  in  em- 
ployment, however,  has  not  yet  been  made. 




The  Report  of  the  National  Advisory  Commission  on  Civil  Disorders'^  pro- 
posed several  methods  of  improving  the  education  of  black  children,  par- 
ticularly in  urban  areas.  Specific  suggestions  included  such  plans  as 

increasing  aid  to  school  systems  that  are  seeking  to  eliminate  racial  iso- 

establishing  "magnet  schools"  to  attract  children  from  several  sections 
of  the  community, 

providing  supplemental  education  centers  with  specialized  facilities  to 
help  )oungsters  for  a  portion  of  the  school  day, 

building  educational  parks  to  cluster  existing  schools, 

expanding  the  teacher  corps  programs  in  ghetto  areas, 

providing  year-round  education  for  disadvantaged  students, 

bringing  children  to  school  at  an  earlier  age  than  state  law  convention- 
ally requires, 

providing  incentives  for  highly  qualified  teachers  to  teach  in  ghetto  areas, 

reducing  size  of  classes, 

providing  intensive  concentration  on  basic  verbal  skills, 

improving  community-school  relations  by  such  devices  as  using  local  resi- 
dents as  teacher  aides  and  tutors, 

improving  higher  education  opportunities,  and 

providing  more  realistic  vocational  education. 

The  recommendations  could  be  categorized  within  two  key  strategies: 

First,  we  must  foster  racial  integration  in  schools  as  the  long-term  priority 
objective,  as  a  matter  of  social  policy.  Racial  isolation  is  detrimental,  on  its 
face,  for  whites  and  blacks. 

Second,  the  elimination  of  racial  isolation  is  a  difficult  goal  to  achie\'e 
in  the  short  term.  We  must  improve  education  of  black  children  in  w^hat- 
ever  schools  we  currently  find  them. 

The  Commission  felt  compelled  to  point  out  that, 

We  see  no  conflict  between  the  integration  and  quality  education  strategies  we 
espouse.    Commitment  to  the  goal  of  integrated  education  can  neither  diminish  the 

'  (New  York:   Bantam  Books,  1968). 

quality  of  today's  segregated  and  unequal  ghetto  schools  nor  sanction  the  tragic 
waste  of  human  resources  which  they  entail. 

Far  from  being  in  conflict  the  strategies  are  complementary.  The  aim  of  quality 
education  is  to  compensate  for  and  overcome  the  environmental  handicaps  of  dis- 
advantaged children.  The  evidence  indicates  that  integration,  in  itself,  does  not 
wholly  achieve  this  purpose.^ 

In  the  letter  inviting  me  to  prepare  a  paper  for  this  meeting,  it  was 
stated  that,  "One  gets  the  feeling  .  .  .  that  the  recommendations  (of  the 
Commission)  have  been  largely  ignored  and  that  the  racial  situation  is 
worsening.  If  this  is  the  case,  why  is  it  happening?  What  are  the  obstacles 
to  change?  Can  anything  feasible  be  done  to  change  the  situation?"  In 
my  view,  the  premise  of  this  Assembly,  to  the  extent  that  it  is  reflected  by 
these  assertions  and  questions,  is  accurate.  The  racial  situation  does  seem 
to  be  worsening. 

Nevertheless,  it  is  not  clear  to  this  participant  that  an  examination  of  the 
possible  obstacles,  field  by  field,  necessarily  or  directly  leads  to  alleviation  of 
the  problems.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  highly  technical  analyses  of  the  racial 
difficulties  we  face  in  the  United  States  could  lead,  albeit  unintentionally, 
to  evasion  of  the  moral  responsibilities  we  face  as  a  nation. 

The  Kerner  Commission  Report  is  a  moral  indictment  as  well  as  a  social 
analysis.  While  the  analysis  must  continue,  it  must  supplement,  and  not 
supplant,  the  moral  fervor  of  our  efforts  to  eliminate  racism  and  its  eflfects. 
Value  questions  that  underlie  our  social  policy  formulations  must  not  be 
submerged  entirely  beneath  dispassionate  inquiry  into  our  problems.  Rather, 
reaffirmations  of  national  purpose  and  value  commitments  must  move  apace 
with  scholarly  analysis. 

Furthermore,  intensive  examination  of  a  single  field  ■ —  such  as  education, 
or  employment,  or  housing,  or  welfare  —  easily  leads  reasonable  people  to 
think  that  progress  is  virtually  impossible  to  attain  because  racial  problems 
are  so  pervasive  in  the  society.  An  individual  interested  in  employTnent  looks 
at  the  educational  and  housing  scenes,  and  he  begins  to  wonder  if  the  im- 
provement of  employment  opportunities  alone  will  alleviate  the  problem 
appreciably.  A  man  studying  our  welfare  policies  can  easily  fall  into  the 
position  of  fatalistic  acceptance  of  inadequacies  in  the  present  system  because 
welfare  problems,  of  course,  have  manifestations  in  housing,  employment, 
education,  and  administration  of  justice.  And  the  educationist  may  be  quite 
tempted  to  say  that  the  schools  can  do  little  indeed  in  the  absence  of  rather 
wholesale  changes  in  other  elements  of  the  society. 

In  the  field  of  education,  there  exists  abundant  rationale  supporting  argu- 
ments for  minimal  change,  both  with  respect  to  compensatoiy  education  and 
also  with  respect  to  integration.  Compensator)'  education  programs  of  one  kind 

'  Ibid.,  p.  439. 


and  another,  from  the  Banneker  Project  in  St.  Louis,  to  the  Higher  Horizons 
Program  in  New  York  City,  to  the  Madison  Area  Project  in  Syracuse,  have  all 
demonstrated  limited  ability  to  improve  the  achievement  levels  of  black  chil- 
dren, as  the  U.  S.  Commission  on  Civil  Rights  report.  Racial  Isolation  in  the 
Public  Schools,^  has  already  indicated.  Compensatory  education  programs  at 
the  preschool  level,  on  the  other  hand,  have  succeeded  in  eflfecting  sharp  im- 
provements in  achievement;  but  the  studies  so  far  reveal  that  the  initial 
gains  are  soon  lost,  not  only  in  situations  wherein  black  children  later  attend 
racially  isolated  classes,  but  also  in  schools  where  they  attend  integrated  classes. 
Further,  compensatory  education  programs  are  costly.  The  "successful"  pre- 
school programs  cost  between  $1,000  and  $1,500  per  child  per  year.  We 
currently  spend,  nationally,  an  average  of  $450  per  child  per  )ear.  An  in- 
evitable question  arises:  If  we  are  willing  to  increase  our  investment  dramati- 
cally in  social  programs  —  the  kind  of  additional  investment  represented  by  a 
doubling  or  tripling  of  our  allotments  for  education  —  shouldn't  we  consider 
methods  of  spending  these  monies  alternative  to  those  in  the  educational  sys- 
tem alone?  Income  guarantees,  for  example.  Or  creating  new  jobs. 

But  a  prior  question  is  unavoidable  if  we  focus  major  effort  on  compensa- 
tor)' programs.  If  we  are  committed  to  improving  the  achievement  level  of 
black  children,  primarily  in  black  communities,  can  we  ever  create  a  political 
atmosphere  in  which  whites  will  be  willing  to  appropriate  two  and  three  times 
as  much  money  for  the  education  of  black  children  as  for  their  own?  Such 
a  possibility  seems  highly  unlikely,  however  much  certain  elements  of  our 
population  may  want  to  preserve  a  segregated  pattern.  It  is  doubtful  whether 
they  will  allow  such  a  disparate  investment.  Compensatory  education  alone 
doesn't  seem  to  hold  much  promise  for  a  large-scale  solution  to  improvement 
of  black  education,  given  the  political  realities  of  present-day  America. 

Yet  the  evidence  for  improvement  of  achievement  by  integrating  schools 
is  not  very  encouraging  either,  mainly  because  many  plans  for  desegregation 
of  schools  do  not  eliminate  segregation  in  classes.  In  many  cases,  even  \vhen 
the  racial  composition  of  the  entire  school  is  mixed,  examination  reveals  that 
the  blacks  by  and  large  are  in  separate  tracks.  In  such  situations,  the  evidence 
indicates  that  their  achievement  is  no  different  from  what  it  would  be  if  they 
attended  separate  schools. 

Our  research  seems  to  indicate  that  integration  of  classes  seems  to  be  the 
most  effective  educational  method  for  improving  achievement  of  black  chil- 
dren. Though  the  evidence  of  this  point  isn't  overwhelming,  and  some  recent 
studies  raise  disturbing  questions,  such  a  plan  is  likely  to  be  successful  for 
blacks  while  preserving  high  achievement  for  whites.  A  few  medium-sized 
cities,  such  as  Champaign,  Illinois,  and  Syracuse,  New  York,  have  experi- 

'  Superintendent  of  Documents  (Washington,  D.G.:  U.S.  Government  Printing 
Office),  1967. 

mented  with  such  a  method  of  eliminating  racial  isolation.  Results  so  far  seem 

But  in  larger  cities,  major  innovative  political  arrangements  are  required 
to  achieve  racial  integration  at  the  level  of  the  individual  class.  Open  enroll- 
ment, a  system  wherein  people  can  choose  the  school  they  wish  to  go  to,  doesn't 
seem  to  work,  possibly  because  of  the  large  proportion  of  Negro  children  in 
central  city  school  systems.  Cooperative  arrangements  between  urban  and 
suburban  schools  seem  promising,  but  such  systems  have  not  been  tried  on  an 
appreciable  scale  because  of  the  political  realignments  that  are  required. 

This  observer,  then,  doubts  that  large-scale  improvements  of  educational 
achievement  are  possible  through  compensatory  education  programs  alone, 
and  tends  therefore  to  reject  that  particular  recommendation  of  the  Kerner 
Commission  Report  as  feasible  national  policy.  Perhaps  one  obstacle  to  the 
adoption  of  this  particular  recommendation  results  from  similar  skepticism 
by  those  individuals  who  are  uncertain  about  long-term  benefits  and  who  also 
question  the  likelihood  of  such  disproportionate  financial  support  for  black 
schools.  Even  if  we  were  willing  to  spend  three  times  as  much  for  the  educa- 
tion of  black  children  as  for  white  children,  compensatory  programs  seem  to 
have  practically  no  effect  after  preschool ;  and  even  when  applied  at  the  pre- 
school level,  the  benefits  seem  to  wash  out  in  ordinary  programs  of  schooling. 
These  statements  are  based  on  the  evidence  at  hand  about  results  of  com- 
pensatory education  programs.  These  programs  have  usually  been  carried 
out  without  major  attention  to  other  types  of  social  change,  or  even  to  per- 
vasive change  at  all  levels  of  schooling.  If  coordinated  programs  to  improve 
the  socioeconomic  levels  in  ghetto  areas  were  combined  with  compensatory 
education  efforts,  the  results  might  be  quite  different.  I  suspect  they  would  be. 
It  seems  highly  unlikely  that  we  shall  redistribute  educational  resources  to 
compensate  dramatically  for  the  effects  of  past  societal  depravations.  At  the 
same  time,  it  is  not  quite  so  unlikely  that  we  may  be  willing  to  allocate  a 
greater  share  of  our  national  investment  in  human  resources  to  improvement 
of  educational  programs.  The  most  acceptable  plans  for  the  improvement  of 
education  of  black  children,  those  with  highest  possibility  of  acceptance  by 
the  public,  must  include  major  attention  to  improvement  of  education  for 
whites  as  well.  This  fact,  plus  persuasive  moral  considerations,  seems  to  argue 
for  desegregation,  for  the  elimination  of  racial  isolation,  as  the  most  effective 
method  of  eliminating  educational  disparities  between  the  races. 

It  has  become  clear  that  a  large  segment  of  our  population  —  white, 
ignored,  and  angry  —  is  disturbed  increasingly  by  what  they  see  as  major 
attempts  to  redress  imbalances  in  favor  of  blacks,  amidst  a  climate  in  which 
blacks,  as  well  as  some  whites,  are  becoming  ever  more  strident  in  their  de- 
mands. Stridency  breeds  antagonism.  Angry  whites  are  uniting  in  opposition 
to  improvement  of  social  programs  that  focus  exclusively  on  blacks. 

If  our  educational  programs  for  whites  were  today  all  that  they  should 
be,  perhaps  there  would  be  less  objection  to  disproportionate  allocation  of  re- 
sources for  the  improvement  of  black  education.  But  of  course  our  educational 
system  must  be  improved  for  both  races.  If  in  our  determinations  of  social 
policy,  we  demonstrate  an  appropriate  (and  large)  degree  of  concern  for 
whites,  then  we  will  also  have  greater  success  with  new  programs  that  may 
focus  primarily  on  blacks. 

This  background  argues  for  total  examination  of  the  educational  system; 
it  argues  for  the  formulation  of  general  educational  goals  for  all.  If  whites 
begin  to  see  how  the  educational  system  is  being  changed  to  meet  the  needs  of 
their  own  children,  they  may  be  quite  willing  to  work  for  improvement  of 
black  education  in  the  process,  and  they  may  even  be  willing  to  invest  in 
programs  that  attempt  to  redress  past  inequities. 

I  shall  use  the  remainder  of  my  remarks  to  highlight  a  somewhat  dif- 
ferent potentially  divisive  element  in  our  attention  to  the  improvement  of  ed- 
ucation for  black  children.  It  is  appealing  to  focus  on  schools  in  righting  social 
wrongs.  Schooling  is  a  traditional  means  by  which  we  have  attempted  to 
translate  social  policy  into  actual  improvement  of  the  quality  of  life.  But  there 
is  a  strong  temptation  to  think  that  more  schooling,  as  well  as  more  efficient 
schooling,  can  eliminate  some  of  the  variability  between  blacks  and  whites  in 
educational  achievement.  If  this  assumption  is  accepted  without  examination, 
it  is  seductive  to  conclude  that  we  need  to  increase  the  dominion  of  formal 
schooling  over  the  lives  of  black  children.  We  may  put  them  in  schools  during 
the  summer,  on  Saturdays,  or  in  the  late  afternoons.  And  to  the  extent  that 
we  move  directly  to  improve  achievement,  and  consequently  present  the  dis- 
advantaged child  with  highly  structured,  elaborately  sequenced  programs  to 
improve  competencies  in  subjects  such  as  reading  and  mathematics,  we  risk 
highlighting  a  particularly  formal,  tightly  programmed  type  of  education  that 
could  well  accent  a  mechanical  approach  to  learning  which  children  may 
eventually  see  as  dehumanizing  and  insufficiently  personal. 

While  some  social  policy  formulators  are  advocating  rigorous  teaching 
methods  in  the  formal  skills  for  disadvantaged  children,  they  are  tending  to 
enroll  their  owoi  youngsters  in  schools  that  are  more  open,  more  permissive, 
and  that  tend  to  give  increasing  emphasis  to  the  arts  and  the  humanities. 
Many  observers  are  beginning  to  view  schooling  in  the  United  States  as  ex- 
cessively preordered  and  sequenced.  They  see  the  growth  of  a  factory  model 
for  education  in  the  United  States,  in  which  "productivity"  is  analyzed  in 
terms  of  prespecified  changes  in  human  behavior.  Americans  tend  to  assume 
that  the  development  of  an  educated  person  is  something  like  the  development 
of  a  rocket  or  an  automobile.  We  indicate  in  perfoiTnance  terms  what  is  ex- 
pected as  a  "terminal  objective."  Then  we  develop  sophisticated,  well-engi- 
neered approaches  to  assure  efficient  production. 

Many  middle-class  parents  are  beginning  to  demand  a  more  expressive 
element  in  the  education  of  their  children.  And  the  students  are  demanding 
it  themselves.  There  is  considerably  more  focus  these  days  on  the  quality  of 
our  lives  and  on  the  aesthetic  and  value  dimensions  of  our  existence.  These 
pressures  are  just  beginning  to  build  up;  they  may  have  a  strong  influence  on 
schools  during  the  early  1970's.  Art  programs  probably  will  be  more  promi- 
nent in  our  schools  during  the  coming  years;  the  humanities  will  be  stressed; 
environmental  quality  policy  questions  will  begin  to  be  reflected  more  in 
secondary  as  well  as  elementary  school  programs.  But  if  present  trends  con- 
tinue, these  developments  in  middle-class  schools  will  be  strongly  at  variance 
with  present  trends  in  education  of  black  children  to  be  ever  more  disciplined, 
ever  more  focused  on  discrete  achievement  questions  in  subjects  such  as  read- 
ing, writing,  and  arithmetic.  We  may  have  to  face  a  major  ideological  ques- 
tion: Do  we  want  a  system  that  emphasizes  one  set  of  goals  for  one  race 
while  espousing  a  different  set  for  another? 

It  is  possible  that  black  children  subjected  to  heavy  doses  of  formal  skill 
preparation  and  for  longer  hours  will  begin  to  view  schooling  in  the  same 
repressive  sense  that  some  of  our  middle-class  children  have  begun  to  see  it 
in  recent  years  at  the  college  and  high  school  levels. 

To  implement  the  spirit  of  the  Kemer  Commission  recommendations,  we 
might  do  well  to  introduce  greater  diversity  in  our  approaches  to  education 
and  also  in  the  variety  of  personnel  involved  in  work  with  young  people,  both 
in  the  school  and  out.  It  is  clear  that  we  have  not  made  the  progress  that  is 
desirable  in  improving  race  relations.  We  are  not  even  sure  what  is  possible. 
We  need  to  try  new  programs,  instead  of  solely  riveting  resources  on  one  or 
two  educational  schemes  that  seem  appealing. 

Some  innovations  will  be  developed  within  the  profession,  but  we  surely 
need  fresh  insights  from  a  variety  of  groups.  Professionals  in  the  schools  are 
beginning  to  learn  to  work  with  the  nonprofessionals.  We  are  learning,  in 
many  fields,  that  a  narrow,  protectionist  view  of  existing  practice  may  be  un- 
desirably conservative.  When  we  reach  the  day  when  school  administrators 
and  teachers  work  as  comfortably  with  all  their  constituencies  as  they  presently 
work  with  the  PTA,  then  we  shall  begin  to  take  steps  that  improve  the  edu- 
cation of  all  children :  black  and  white.  If  we  focus  our  programs  for  educa- 
tional improvement  on  both  races,  we  may  stand  the  best  chance  of  improving 
it  for  either  race. 



Welfare  and  Civil  Disorder 

The  welfare  system  —  public  assistance  —  seems  not  a  prime  cause  of 
riots.  Welfare  was  lowest  on  a  list  of  grievances  from  a  Commission  survey 
of  twenty  riot  cities.  Another  study  of  forty-nine  cities  indicated  that  level 
of  welfare  was  not  correlated  with  occurrence  of  violence.  Police  practices, 
jobs,  and  housing  are  more  often  cited  by  both  ghetto  residents  and  experts 
as  "causes." 

Yet  the  black  ghetto  way  of  life  is  centrally  supported  by  welfare,  par- 
ticularly ADC  (Aid  to  Families  with  Dependent  Children).  The  Kemer 
Commission  included  the  welfare  system  in  their  analysis  because  the  cycle  of 
poverty,  despair,  and  dependency  cannot  be  broken  up  without  an  adequate 
and  rational  welfare  system.  An  effective  welfare  system  is  not  by  itself  suffi- 
cient, but  it  is  no  doubt  a  necessary'  condition  for  achieving  the  "integration" 
asked  by  the  Commission  —  or  even  for  achieving  racial  peace. 

Among  welfare  programs,  only  ADC  will  be  discussed  here.  ADC  is  but 
one- third  of  all  United  States  assistance  costs;  however,  ADC  is  most  im- 
portant to  ghetto  families,  it  is  growing  most  rapidly,  and  it  is  most 

Basic  questions  about  ADC  were  raised  by  the  Commission.  Can  ADC 
or  some  other  family  income  program  become  an  effective  means  for  support- 
ing parents  without  income  to  adequately  rear  their  children?  Can  it  be  a 
constructive  experience  for  its  recipients  rather  than  destructive?  Can  it 
contribute  to  the  "integration"  policy  recommended  by  the  Commission? 

Welfare  Recommendations 

Three  welfare  recommendations  were  made  by  the  Commission :  R&D, 
as  a  "first  strategy";  overhaul,  as  the  "most  important";  and  security,  as  a 
"longer-range  goal." 

The  Commission  recommended  first,  research  and  experiment  to  learn 
how  income  maintenance  programs  affect  families.  Social  insurance  and 
assistance  involve  $60  billion  per  year,  yet  money  for  "research  and  develop- 
ment" in  these  programs  is  not  a  tenth  of  1  per  cent  of  their  cost. 

The  overhaul  asked  by  the  Commission  was  a  stopgap  but  still  crucial 
effort  to  eliminate  the  worst  inequities,  and  to  make  ADC  more  adequate  and 

The  longer-range  strategy  of  the  Commission  was  a  national  income  floor  at 
an  adequate  level  for  those  who  work  for  low  pay  as  well  as  those  without 

ADC  in  Illinois:    An  Overview 

Total  costs  of  ADC  in  Illinois  have  grown  by  one-half  during  the  two  years 
since  the  Kerner  study,  and  now  exceed  a  quarter  of  a  billion  dollars  per 
year.  The  share  of  costs  paid  by  the  state  has  increased  by  two-thirds  in  the 
same  two  years.  It  appears  that  Illinois  will  be  paying  about  $160  million  of 
a  total  cost  of  $300  million  for  ADC  in  fiscal  year  1970. 

In  numbers  of  people  receiving  aid,  ADC  has  grown  about  one-third 
during  the  same  two  years,  from  280,000  to  370,000.  One  Illinois  child  in 
every  fifteen  lives  in  an  ADC  family. 

ADC  in  Illinois,  as  elsewhere,  is  disproportionately  black  and  urban;  10 
per  cent  of  all  Illinois  citizens  are  black  —  but  70  per  cent  of  its  370,000 
citizens  on  ADC  are  black.  Cook  County  with  50  per  cent  of  the  state's  popu- 
lation has  70  per  cent  of  the  ADC  population. 

ADC  families,  of  course,  represent  a  concentration  of  problems  in  addition 
to  poverty.  Nine  of  each  ten  ADC  families  in  Illinois  are  headed  by  a  woman, 
with  no  father  in  the  home.  His  absence  is  usually  due  to  divorce  or  desertion. 
ADC  mothers  have  less  than  average  experience  with  emplo)-ment  and  formal 

ADC  in  Illinois  is  administered  with  other  federally-aided  programs  by 
some  four  and  one-half  thousand  employees  of  the  Department  of  Public 
Aid,  in  county  and  district  offices.  The  cost  of  administration  is  about  15 
per  cent  of  the  cost  of  direct  aid  payments.  Since  1962,  states  have  been 
required  to  plan  for  social  services  in  ADC,  as  well  as  legal  determination  of 
eligibility.  Illinois  has  made  such  plans,  but  a  numbei  of  factors  militate 
against  effective  services  by  ADC  workers. 

Continued  controversy  over  the  ADC  program  is  easy  to  understand.  To 
the  legislator  it  represents  spiraling  costs  for  an  unpopular  program  —  the 
last  straw  for  an  overburdened  state  budget.  To  the  taxpayer,  ADC  seems 
an  endless  payout  with  no  visible  benefits  and  even  seems  to  some  a  "subsidy 
of  immorality."  To  the  ADC  mother,  it  represents  existence  but  litde  else. 
She  typically  lives  in  a  "project"  or  other  low-cost  area  where  all  community 
services  —  schools,  police  protection,  stores,  sanitation,  social  welfare,  and 
recreation  —  are  poor  or  nonexistent.  Her  experience  with  ADC  is  like  her 
experience  with  schools,  police,  and  merchants. 

In  the  following  analysis,  ADC  is  viewed  as  objectively  as  possible,  in  the 
teiTns  laid  down  by  the  Kerner  Commission  Report. 


ADC  in  Illinois  in  Relation  to  Commission  Recommendations 

Illinois  is  within  striking  distance  of  the  "overhaul"  or  "most  urgent" 
recommendations  of  the  Commission.  At  the  same  time,  a  new  ADC  crisis 
appears  likely.  Therefore,  we  believe  that  attention  should  be  directed  to 
President  Nixon's  Family  Assistance  Plan  and  other  proposals  for  a  national 
program  of  family  income  maintenance.  These  observations  are  the  opinion 
of  the  authors  based  on  the  factual  review  in  the  following  pages.  More 
specifically  our  conclusions  are : 

1.  A  First  Strategy  —  Research  and  Experiment.  A  state  appropriation  of 
$3,300,000  for  research  in  welfare  and  human  resources  has  been  made.  New 
programs  will  be  tested  in  selected  areas,  and  also  more  basic  research  will  be 
supported.  If  properly  evaluated,  this  program  would  put  Illinois  ahead  of 
most  states  in  welfare  research  and  development.  Model  Cities  programs  in 
Illinois  offer  another  framework  for  experiment,  but  so  far  Model  Cities 
planning  has  been  limited  to  coordination  of  existing  programs  and  some  use 
of  service  centers  and  indigenous  workers  —  the  "integrated  programs"  of 
adequate  income  and  services  as  recommended  by  the  Commission  are  said  to 
be  too  expensive. 

2.  Most  Urgent  ■ — •  Overhaul.  Illinois,  like  most  northern  industrial  states 
and  California,  is  far  ahead  of  southeastern  states  and  already  approaches  the 
"overhaul"  recommendations.  Many  detailed  recommendations,  to  make 
ADC  more  adequate  and  less  degrading  to  recipients,  are  reviewed  below. 
Specific  actions  which  would  bring  Illinois  fully  to  the  recommended  levels  are 
listed  on  pages  40-41. 

3.  A  Longer-Range  Strategy  —  National  Income  Security.  Several  factors 
appear  to  make  a  new  ADC  crisis  likely  in  Illinois.  Political  and  fiscal  reality 
therefore  suggest  that  it  is  time  to  consider  a  national  income  maintenance 
program.  Impact  of  any  proposed  plan  for  Illinois  should  be  examined,  we 
believe,  on  three  key  questions. 

a.  Will  the  plan  provide  relief  to  the  state  budget? 

b.  Will  administrative  complexity  be  reduced? 

c.  Will  the  needs  of  the  most  deprived  families  in  Illinois  be  better 

This  review  (pages  34  to  40)  indicates  that  the  Administration  Welfare 
Bill  presently  before  Congress  does  not  offer  substantial  benefits  for  Illinois  in 
terms  of  the  state  budget  or  in  terms  of  administration.  Also,  there  is  a  basic 
question  about  level  of  adequacy  for  deprived  families.  Since  families  would 
still  be  maintained  below  the  poverty  level,  parents  would  not  be  much  helped 
in  their  own  efforts  to  break  out  of  the  cycle  of  poverty  and  frustration  so 
graphically  described  by  the  Commission. 

"A  First  Strategy"  —  Research  and  Experiment.  Governor  Ogilvie's 
budget  includes  $3,300,000  for  research  and  demonstration  in  state  human 


resources  programs.  Plans  being  developed  in  the  Bureau  of  the  Budget  call 
for  testing  of  decentralized  comprehensive  administration  of  state  human 
services,  for  testing  of  separation  of  service  from  eligibility  determination,  for 
development  of  adequate  information  systems,  and  for  support  of  basic  re- 
search. An  institute  would  be  set  up,  independent  of  operating  departments 
at  the  state  level,  to  administer  these  studies  and  experiments. 

The  Commission  called  for  urban  demonstrations  of  integrated  programs 
of  aid  and  job  training,  under  the  Model  Cities  umbrella.  None  are  planned 
in  Illinois  —  field  experiments  in  pa)-ment  of  adequate  income,  combined 
with  adequate  services  for  education  and  job  training,  exist  in  Gar\-  and 

Model  Cities  planning  in  Illinois  includes,  as  far  as  we  can  determine. 
"outposts"  for  deliver)'  of  services  to  poor  areas;  better  information  exchange 
among  public  aid  and  other  programs;  and  the  use  of  welfare  aides  recruited 
among  residents  of  Model  Cities  areas.  These  ideas  are  not  new,  but  neither 
are  they  costly.  A  representative  of  Model  Cities  in  the  Chicago  regional 
office  said  that  the  four  Model  Cities  directors  in  Illinois  believe  that  im- 
proved welfare  requires  more  money  through  legislative  action  and  so  is 
beyond  their  scope  of  planning. 

Overhaul  of  the  Existing  Categorical  System.  The  Commission  asked  for 
a  national  minimum  income  standard  for  individuals  and  families  enrolled 
in  ADC  to  be  effective  in  all  states,  and  went  on  to  recommend  that  the 
standard  be  at  least  as  high  as  the  poverty  line  defined  by  the  Social  Security 
Administration.  That  poverty  line  \vas  $3,553  in  1968  and  ^vould  be  some- 
what higher  now. 

The  Illinois  maximum  budget  standard  for  a  family  of  four  is  presently 
$3,339  per  year,  between  5  and  10  per  cent  under  the  poverty  line.  If  current 
earned  income  of  about  $2  million  per  month  is  added  to  total  assistance 
pa)-ments,  it  is  indicated  that  the  topical  ADC  family  of  four  in  Illinois  dees 
have  $3,100  to  $3,300  per  year  to  live  on. 

The  table  below  shows  that  assistance  per  person  has  increased  one  quarter 
in  the  past  two  years,  so  that  Illinois  more  nearly  approaches  the  Commission 
recommendations  than  it  did  two  years  ago. 

The  poverty  line  budget  is  based  on  the  assumption  that  parents  are  good 
financial  managers,  and  that  both  business  and  community  facilities  are 
adequate  so  that  they  can  do  a  good  job  of  rearing  children  ^vith  minimal 

Since  these  assumptions  are  known  to  be  false  for  most  ADC  families, 
many  groups  have  argued  that  the  poverty  line  is  not  an  adequate  le\el  of 
income  to  permit  families  to  break  out  of  the  "prison  of  povert)'." 

Recognizing  that  state  and  local  governments  have  more  restricted  tax 
bases  than  the  federal  government,  find  it  more  difficult  to  respond  to  ad- 


1967-69  CHANGE 

(Includes  ADC-UP;  includes  medical  payments) 


June,  1967 

June,  1969 


Illinois  budget  standard  — ■ 
family  of  four 

Actual  cases 
Assistance  per  case 
Assistance  per  person 

S           3,168.00 






$           3,339.00 








verse  economic  conditions,  and  are  overburdened  by  current  urban  problems 
in  particular,  the  Commission  recommended  that  most  welfare  costs  should 
be  paid  by  the  federal  government. 

In  Illinois  at  present,  the  federal  government  pays  one-half  the  cost  of 
ADC.   In  poorer  states,  the  federal  share  may  be  three-fourths  or  even  higher. 

Change  in  the  federal  share  in  Illinois  for  the  two  years  since  the  Kerner 
Report  has  actually  been  opposite  to  the  Commission  recommendations.  If  the 
third  quarter  of  1967  is  compared  with  the  third  quarter  of  1969,  the  federal 
share  has  declined  from  61  per  cent  to  47  per  cent. 

If  the  Commission  recommendation  is  interpreted  as  meaning,  say,  90 
per  cent  federal  funding,  then  the  estimated  state  costs  for  ADC  during  the 
current  fiscal  year  would  be  reduced  from  about  $160  million  to  $30  million. 

The  Commission  recommended  that  "The  share  of  costs  presently  imposed 
on  municipal  governments  should  be  removed  .  .  ." ;  that  ADC-UP  "be  made 
permanent  and  mandatory  on  all  states";  and  that  "The  new  federal  defini- 
tion of  'unemployment'  be  broadened." 

In  Illinois,  municipal  governments  do  not  pay  toward  ADC  costs. 

Illinois,  like  other  leading  industrial  states,  has  extended  ADC  to  unem- 
ployed parents.  Many  other  states  have  not.  In  Illinois,  currently  about  4 
per  cent  of  the  total  state  ADC  caseload  are  ADC-U.  In  the  same  year  that 
the  Commission  Report  was  released,  ADC-U  was  authorized  on  a  con- 
tinuing basis  by  Congress,  but  it  was  not  made  mandatory  for  each  state. 

In  1967,  the  definition  of  unemployment  in  Illinois  was:  less  than  forty 
hours  OR  what  is  considered  normal  for  the  job.  The  1969  definition  of  un- 
employment is:  less  than  thirty- five  hours  OR  what  is  considered  normal 
for  the  job. 

The  present  definition  of  unemployment  in  Illinois  makes  it  possible  for 
families  with  men  not  working  full  time  to  receive  some  assistance.  There  is 
no  provision,  however,  for  underemployed  families. 


The  Commission  recommended  that  earnings  retention  "should  be  raised 
substantially  to  maximize  incentive  to  work."  Both  public  aid  policy  and  the 
actual  experience  of  ADC  families  in  Illinois  has  moved  in  the  direction 
recommended  by  the  Commission. 

In  1967  in  Illinois,  the  exemption  of  earnings  was  the  first  $25  per  month 
plus  expenses.  In  July,  1969,  the  earnings  exemption  was  raised  to  the  first 
$30  of  earned  income  plus  one-third  the  remainder  of  gross  income.  In  addi- 
tion, cost  of  child  care  may  be  shown  as  part  of  the  budgeted  needs  of  the 

The  table  below  shows  that  both  earnings  and  the  amount  of  earnings 
kept  by  ADC  families  have  increased  substantially  during  the  past  year.  Com- 
parable figures  were  not  available  for  1967.  If  one  can  assume  that  it  was  the 
increased  exemption  of  earnings  which  stimulated  more  ADC  parents  to  go 
to  work,  then  it  would  appear  that  the  policy  recommended  by  the  Com- 
mission has  been  a  success  in  Illinois. 

The  earnings  exemption  proposed  in  the  Administration  Family  Assistance 
Plan  is  $60  per  month,  plus  one-half  the  remainder. 

Adults  in  ADC  families  have  little  formal  education  and  little  work  ex- 
perience but  in  general  would  prefer  to  be  working  for  decent  wages  if  possible. 
The  Commission  noted  these  basic  facts  and  recommended  greater  efforts  at 
education  and  job  training  for  adults  in  ADC. 

In  Illinois,  there  are  many  activities  around  basic  education  and  job 
training  for  ADC  adults  and  the  situation  is  difficult  to  summarize. 

The  table  below  shows  there  are  over  10,000  adults  currently  in  education 
or  job  training.  About  two-thirds  of  these  adults  are  in  literacy  training  or 
high  school  or  its  equivalent,  with  the  other  one-third  in  some  form  of  job 
training.  At  present,  about  one  ADC  adult  in  each  sixteen  is  involved  in  such 
activity  —  less  than  the  proportion  two  years  ago. 

The  Illinois  Department  of  Public  Aid,  under  contract  with  the  Depart- 
ment of  Public  Instruction,  finances  13  adult  education  centers.  Basic  literacy, 
general  educational  development,  and  high  school  courses  are  offered,  as 
well  as  job  training  in  clerical,  sales,  key  punch,  auto  mechanic,  and  other 
lines  of  work.    There  are  four  centers  in  Chicago,  and  nine  downstate. 

A  work  incentive  program  (WIN)   was  authorized  by  the  1967  Amend- 


Item  June,  1968  June,  1969 

Number  of  cases  with  income  5,700  8,860 

Per  cent  of  cases  with  income  9.3  11.6 

Total  earned  income  (rounded)  $990,000  $1,920,000 
Earned  income  exempted  from  budget 

(retained  by  recipients)  $120,000  $     920,000 



August,  1967 

August,  1 969 

Total  number 



Percentage  of  all  ADC  adults 



Number  attending  adult  education 




Number  in  work  incentive  programs 


Miscellaneous  (number  in  MDTA; 

DVR;  night  courses,  etc.) 



ment  to  the  Social  Security  Act.  The  Department  of  Labor  administers  WIN 
in  coordination  with  HEW.  A  variety  of  services  are  offered  to  move  aduhs 
and  young  people  from  welfare  families  into  employment.  In  Illinois,  WIN  is 
effective  in  Cook  County  and  six  other  counties. 

In  the  miscellaneous  category,  public  aid  workers  make  referrals  to  the 
Illinois  State  Employinent  Service,  the  Manpower  Development  and  Training 
Office,  the  Division  of  Vocational  Rehabilitation,  and  in  addition  may  ar- 
range for  attendance  at  courses  or  job  training  on  a  case-by-case  basis. 

Assessment  of  progress  in  ADC  and  employment  is  difficult  because  of 
persistent  policy  questions  which  have  never  been  settled. 

First,  how  can  an  integrated  and  coherent  effort  to\vard  education  and 
employment  be  achieved?  There  is  a  patchwork  of  programs  which  are  diffi- 
cult to  coordinate.  Should  these  be  under  the  Department  of  Public  Aid  or 
some  existing  or  new  authority? 

Second,  how  large  an  effort  is  required?  The  ADC  program  inherits  the 
deficiencies  of  the  educational  system,  especially  for  black  people,  and  the 
deficiencies  in  emplo)Tnent  opportunities.  An  adequate  program  of  education 
and  employment  would  almost  replicate  the  primar)'  and  secondaiy  school 
system  and  might  have  to  create  special  emplovinent  opportunities  for  this 
group  of  adults. 

Third,  are  there  job  opportunities  in  our  present  economy  for  people  with 
minimal  skills  and  a  p>oor  educational  background?  If  not,  then  something 
more  than  limited  training  for  specific  jobs  is  needed. 

Fourth,  there  is  the  basic  question  of  the  welfare  of  ADC  children  when 
their  mothers  work.  Presumably,  the  care  and  training  of  children  is  a  de- 
manding function  in  itself.  Under  what  conditions  should  ADC  mothers  be 
encouraged  to  work? 

The  Commission  saw  day  care  centers  as  being  needed  both  to  permit 
mothers  to  work  and  to  improve  development  opportunities  for  children. 

In  Illinois  the  expenses  of  day  care  for  reasons  of  employment,  education 
and  training  of  adults,  or  for  other  reasons,  may  be  paid  as  part  of  the  ADC 
budget.   In  October,  1969,  a  total  of  about  $400,000  was  paid  through  ADC 

to  5,914  families  for  such  day  care.  Of  this  day  care,  80  per  cent  was  for 
reasons  of  employment,  and  most  of  the  rest  was  for  education  and  training. 
Comparisons  are  not  possible  over  the  past  two-year  period,  since  day  care 
expenses  were  not  identified  as  a  special  item  two  years  ago. 

Even  though  day  care  may  be  included  in  ADC  budgets,  it  is  used  by  only 
one  family  in  twelve.  Observers  agree  that  there  is  a  severe  shortage  of 
adequate  facilities.  The  reason  seems  to  be  a  lack  of  federal  or  state  leader- 
ship in  organizing  day  care  facilities. 

There  are  several  efforts  to  stimulate  the  development  of  day  care  but 
results  are  uneven.  For  example,  the  new  federal  Office  of  Child  Development 
has  a  bureau  concerned  with  policies  and  standards  for  day  care.  As  another 
example,  in  fiscal  1969,  the  WIN  program  included  several  million  dollars 
nationally  for  day  care  for  children  of  mothers  in  the  WIN  program.  The 
Illinois  Department  of  Children  and  Family  Services  has  a  licensing  and  con- 
trol responsibility  and  is  assigning  a  few  staff  members  to  the  day  care  area. 
None  of  these  efforts,  so  far,  provide  the  necessary  money  or  competent 
leadership  to  establish  and  staff  day  care  facilities  in  local  areas. 

The  Kerner  Commission  Report  states  that  its  members  ".  .  .  strongly 
disagree  with  compelling  mothers  of  small  children  to  work  or  else  lose  wel- 
fare support."  In  Illinois,  education,  training,  or  employment  is  mandatory 
for  all  adults  in  ADC  families.  This  includes  mothers  with  children  below 
school  age  if  "suitable  arrangements  have  or  can  be  made  for  such  care  and 
supervision  during  the  hours  of  the  day  that  the  mother  or  other  person  is  out 
of  the  home  because  of  employment,  training,  or  education."  Therefore,  the 
state's  policy  does  conflict  with  the  Commission  recommendation. 

As  a  reaction  to  growing  ADC  rolls  Congress  had  proposed  to  freeze 
amounts  of  federal  matching  funds  to  the  proportion  of  children  receiving 
assistance  in  different  states  as  of  January  1,  1968.  However,  this  freeze  was 
first  postponed  to  July  1,  1969,  and  since  then  the  beginning  date  has  been 
extended  indefinitely.  The  Commission  recommended  that  the  freeze  be 

The  Report  also  stated  that  the  so-called  "man-in-the-house"  rule  should 
be  eliminated.  Currently  in  Illinois,  if  there  is  a  man  in  the  house  and  he  is 
unemployed  or  works  part  time,  that  family  may  be  eligible  for  ADC-U,  if 
he  is  the  father  of  at  least  one  of  the  children. 

The  Commission  recommended  eliminating  residence  requirements  for 
new  residents  of  states  because  of  the  resultant  restriction  on  freedom  of  move- 
ment to  follow  opportunity,  or  simply  because  of  personal  preference. 

In  1967,  Illinois  had  a  residency  requirement  of  one  year.  In  February, 
1968,  residence  requirement  was  declared  unconstitutional  in  the  U.  S.  District 
Court  of  Cook  County. 

During  the  year  ending  September,  1969,  2,239  ADC  cases  were  opened 


with  less  than  one  year  of  residence.  Proportionately  more  of  the  new  cases 
were  downstate  than  in  Cook  County.  Less  than  half  came  from  the  South. 
Many  came  from  states  adjoining  Illinois.  In  addition,  there  were  new  resi- 
dents from  the  West  Coast,  from  Puerto  Rico,  and  from  foreign  countries. 

No  estimate  of  the  impact  of  this  new  policy  can  be  made,  since  data  are 
not  available  on  out-migration  nor  on  reasons  for  moving. 

Concerning  eligibility  for  ADC  the  Commission  recommended  that  "Ap- 
plicants should  be  able  to  establish  initial  eligibility  by  personal  statements  or 
affidavits  relating  to  their  financial  situation  and  family  composition,  subject 
to  subsequent  review  conducted  in  a  manner  that  protects  their  dignity, 
privacy,  and  constitutional  rights."  In  1969,  the  Department  of  HEW  re- 
quested all  states  not  using  a  self-declaration  of  eligibility  to  conduct  experi- 
ments in  such  use. 

In  Illinois,  self-declaration  forms  for  eligibility  determination  are  being 
tested  in  Winnebago,  Williamson,  and  Vermilion  Counties,  and  in  the  north- 
em  district  of  Cook  Count)'.  The  objectives  are:  (1)  to  reduce  the  waiting 
time  for  recipients  to  get  their  decision.  In  the  pilot  projects,  it  takes  about 
one  hour  after  the  applicant  comes  in  for  him  to  get  a  decision  as  against 
thirty  days  in  the  past.  (2)  To  free  public  aid  workers  to  give  more  time  for 
service.  (3)  To  minimize  the  social  stigma  involved  in  applying  for  assistance. 
(4)  To  reduce  the  volume  of  paper  work  required. 

The  results  of  the  pilot  projects  have  not  yet  been  organized  and  reported. 
It  might  be  noted  that  the  coordinator  of  one  of  the  projects  stated  that  in  his 
county,  the  project  was  successful  in  reducing  waiting  time  for  applicants  to 
get  their  decision  and  in  minimizing  the  stigma  of  application.  However,  he 
also  stated  that  in  his  county,  the  volume  of  paperwork  was  not  greatly  less, 
and  workers  did  not  have  substantially  more  time  for  service  since  the  forms 
themselves  are  still  complicated  and  require  extensive  processing  in  the  office. 
Finally,  he  stated  that  in  that  county,  the  accuracy  of  information  obtained 
was  apparently  as  good  as,  or  better  than,  under  the  present  system. 

The  Report  contained  recommendations  for  "Centers  to  provide  the  full 
complement  of  welfare  services  ...  all  welfare,  social,  rehabilitation,  and 
income  assistance  services,"  and  for  the  expansion  of  family  planning 

As  noted  above,  the  $3,300,000  for  research  in  the  Public  Aid  appropria- 
tion will  pay  for  trials  of  integrated  community-level  administration  of  state 
human  services,  in  selected  areas. 

Illinois  currently  pays  for  all  types  of  family  planning  services  and  devices. 
Public  Aid  workers  are  instructed  to  discuss  birth  control  with  all  women  of 
child-bearing  age.  In  September,  1969,  family  planning  was  paid  for  in 
6,623  families  at  a  total  cost  of  $39,317.  In  addition,  other  women  attended 
free  public  health  clinics  for  family  planning  services. 


The  recommendations  above  have  to  do  with  making  social  services  in 
ADC  more  effective.  This  subject  is  important  and  requires  additional 

Many  of  society's  problems  are  distilled  into  the  ADC  program,  and  ADC 
families  need  skilled  social  ser\dces  in  addition  to  adequate  income.  However, 
there  are  five  obvious  facts  which  work  against  effective  sei^-ices  in  ADC. 

First,  the  existing  work  force  in  Public  Aid  is  barely  enough  for  the  de- 
tailed legal  accountability  demanded  of  the  program.  In  Illinois,  there  are 
now  four  and  one-half  thousand  employees  of  Public  Aid  in  county  and 
district  offices  for  direct  administration  of  federally-aided  assistance  programs. 
This  number  represents  an  increase  of  only  2  per  cent  over  two  years  ago, 
when  the  programs  were  much  smaller. 

Second,  the  pay  and  other  amenities  do  not  attract  enough  specially 
qualified  and  specially  trained  persons  as  career  opportunities. 

Third,  just  as  money  for  research  and  development  in  Public  Aid  has  been 
lacking,  so  has  money  for  staff  development  and  training  been  miniscule. 

Fourth,  administrative  practices  in  Public  Aid  have  always  been  geared  to 
detect  and  penalize  illegal  pa)Tnents,  but  not  to  detect  and  reward  good 

Fifth,  Public  Aid  legislation  and  policy  have  dictated  a  brittle  relation- 
ship between  worker  and  recipient  which  does  not  lend  itself  to  effective  help- 
ing. To  date,  it  has  been  the  exception  rather  than  the  rule  that  Public  Aid 
w'orkers  become  "advocates"  of  clients  rather  than  "investigators." 

For  all  these  reasons,  many  observers  have  concluded  that  even  with  an 
improved  ADC  program  it  would  be  better  to  separate  social  ser\ices  com- 
pletely from  the  administration  of  financial  assistance. 

Specific  actions  are  needed  for  Illinois  to  reach  the  overhaul  recommenda- 
tions of  the  Commission.  The  following  actions  are  specific  and  feasible  steps, 
most  of  them  possible  at  the  state  level,  which  would  more  fully  realize  these 

1.  Increase  ADC  budget  standard  to  poverty  line.  Illinois  is  5  to  10  per 
cent  below  the  poverty  line  defined  by  federal  agencies,  and  the  poverty  line 
is  of  questionable  adequacy  for  child-rearing.  As  an  immediate  and  minimal 
step,  budgetary  standards  might  be  brought  into  line  with  the  current  po\-erty 
line  definition. 

2.  Increase  federal  sharing  in  the  Administration  welfare  bill.  The  present 
federal  system  of  sharing  in  ADC  costs  has  two  undesirable  effects.  The 
sharing  formula  tends  to  put  a  ceiling  on  payments,  especially  in  poor  states. 
Second,  the  formula  forces  states  like  Illinois  to  bear  all  of  the  cost  of  more 
adequate  aid.  As  presently  written,  the  Administration  welfare  bill  presei-ves 
these  features. 

Therefore,  in  the  interest  of  the  state,  the  congressional  delegation  from 

Illinois  might  seek:  (1)  a  higher  family  income  floor  in  the  Administration 
bill  and  (2)  revision  of  the  cost-sharing  fomiula  to  pay  in  each  state  a  fixed 
per  cent  of  all  family  assistance  costs. 

3.  Single  state  authority  for  education  and  job  training.  A  single  state 
authority  might  be  designated  to  have  responsibility  for  manpower  develop- 
ment for  unemployed  and  underemployed  citizens. 

4.  Day  care  program  development.  Responsibility  and  money  for  develop- 
ment of  local  day  care  facilities  might  be  given  to  some  one  department. 

5.  Adoption  of  affidavit  system.  Use  of  the  affidavit  system  (self-declara- 
tion) appears  to  make  assistance  less  demeaning  to  clients.  It  might  be 
adopted  after  its  current  trial  unless  serious  problems  are  uncovered. 

6.  Improved  social  services.  Separation  of  social  service  from  eligibility 
determination  appears  necessary  to  achieve  effective  service.  Effectiveness  also 
would  seem  to  require  definition  of  career  lines,  administrative  controls,  and 
training  programs  oriented  to  service. 

A  Longer-Range  Strategy  ^  National  Income  Security 

The  Commission  set  down  three  guides  which  suggest  supplements  to  the 
working  poor,  a  minimum  standard  offering  hope,  and  simplified  eligibility 
based  on  need  alone.  They  read  as  follows : 

To  provide  for  those  who  can  work  or  who  do  work,  any  necessary  supplements  in 
such  a  way  as  to  develop  incentives  for  fuller  employment. 

To  provide  for  those  who  cannot  work  and  for  mothers,  who  decide  to  remain 
with  their  children,  a  minimum  standard  of  decent  living  to  prevent  deprivation 
and  aid  in  saving  children  from  the  prison  of  poverty  which  has  held  their  parents. 
...  all  present  restrictions  on  eligibility  —  other  than  need  —  would  be  eliminated. 

The  Administration  bill  (H.R.  14173,  S.  2986)  would  set  a  new  national 
policy  for  each  of  the  three  main  guides  suggested  by  the  Commission.  The 
implications  for  Illinois  of  these  three  features  —  coverage  of  working  poor, 
family  income  floor,  and  simplified  administration  —  are  outlined  below. 

Coverage  of  families  of  working  poor.  Under  the  Administration  bill,  a 
man  supporting  a  wife  and  two  children  could  earn  up  to  $3,920  per  year  and 
still  receive  some  pa)inent.  National  reports  indicate  there  are  more  children 
in  poverty  whose  fathers  work  all  year,  than  there  are  children  now  covered 
by  ADC.  In  1966,  there  were  1.5  million  families  in  poverty  which  were 
headed  by  a  man  under  sixty-five  who  worked  all  year  (the  poverty  line  in 
1966  for  a  nonfarm  family  of  four  was  $3,335) .  There  were  4.5  million  chil- 
dren in  such  families,  as  against  3.5  million  in  ADC  families  at  that  time. 
These  bits  of  infoiTnation  do  not  permit  estimates  of  the  impact  in  Illinois. 
However,  it  is  clear  that  family  assistance  payments  for  the  first  time  would 
be  available  to  many  families  where  parents  work  for  low  wages. 

Family  income  floor.  The  Administration  bill  provides  a  minimum  pay- 
ment based  on  family  size  and  requires  states  to  supplement  these  payments 

to  present  ADC  le\'els  in  each  state,  for  those  groups  of  families  now  covered 
by  ADC.  In  short,  a  national  floor  is  provided,  but  the  present  state  variations 
in  ADC  are  frozen  into  the  program. 

For  southern  states,  the  proposed  floors  ($1,000  per  year  for  two,  $1,600 
for  four)  are  up  to  three  times  present  ADC  levels.  In  addition,  many 
thousand  additional  families  will  be  covered,  not  now  eligible  for  ADC. 

For  northern  states  such  as  Illinois,  the  floor  is  a  little  over  half  that  now 
provided  by  ADC.  Under  the  proposed  plan,  income  for  families  no\v  on 
ADC  would  apparently  remain  the  same. 

Simplified  administration.  The  Administration  bill  would  largely  eliminate 
eligibility  requirements  other  than  need,  as  the  Commission  recommended, 
for  the  basic  family  assistance  payments.  However,  the  bill  requires  state  sup- 
plementation up  to  present  ADC  levels.  The  bill  permits  integrated  adminis- 
tration of  federal  family  assistance  with  state  supplements,  by  either  the 
federal  government  or  the  state  government,  as  negotiated  with  each  state. 
This  requirement  appears  to  perpetuate  much  of  the  machinery  and  paper- 
work  presently  required   for  ADC,   at  either  the   state  or  federal   level. 

Therefore,  one  cannot  predict  whether,  or  how  much,  administration 
would  be  simplified  for  Illinois,  since  that  would  depend  on  the  state  plan 
to  be  developed  and  negotiated  with  the  federal  government. 

The  impact  of  the  bill  on  the  Illinois  state  budget,  and  on  poor  families 
in  Illinois,  should  also  be  considered. 

Will  the  plan  provide  relief  to  the  state  budget?  The  federal  share  of  pay- 
ments to  those  families  now  on  ADC  would  apparently  increase  by  10  to  20 
per  cent.  If  the  bill  has  the  efTect  of  reaching  more  such  families,  then  this 
gain  for  the  state  budget  may  be  offset  by  greater  numbers  receiving  benefits. 

Migration  of  poor  families  to  the  North  would  hopefully  be  slo\ved. 
Lowered  immigration  is  dubious,  however;  there  is  not  empirical  evidence 
that  ADC  family  heads  came  to  Illinois  for  welfare. 

The  fixed  dollar  levels  stipulated  in  the  bill  may  be  eroded  by  inflation. 
The  state  would  apparently  hav^e  to  bear  the  cost  of  increased  supplementa- 
tion, since  the  federal  share  is  fixed  at  July,  1969,  budget  standai'ds  of  the 

In  the  short  run  then,  state  costs  would  apparently  remain  at  about 
present  levels,  or  decline  slightly.  The  bill  provides  a  leveling  off  but  not  re- 
lief to  the  state  budget. 

Will  the  needs  of  the  most  deprived  people  in  Illinois  be  better  satisfied? 
There  is  a  clear  gain  in  coverage  of  families  headed  by  working  poor.  How- 
ever, state  supplementation  would  not  be  required  for  this  group  and  their 
incomes  could  be  lower  than  the  incomes  of  families  without  earnings.  The 
incentive  for  the  underemployed  father  to  be  unemployed  or  to  desert  would 
apparently  be  maintained. 


In  the  area  of  social  services  around  employment,  there  is  a  gain.  The 
bill  authorizes  federal  payment  of  90  per  cent  of  the  costs  of  "manpower 
services,  training,  employment,  and  child  care  and  related  services"  connected 
with  employment. 

For  middle-aged  men  and  women  who  are  not  disabled  but  still  cannot 
earn,  there  is  no  gain  —  the  bill  limits  payments  to  households  where  there 
are  at  least  two  related  persons,  one  a  child. 

For  the  family  now  receiving  ADC,  the  bill  would  seem  to  freeze  present 
payment  levels.  Since  families  would  still  be  maintained  in  poverty,  parents 
would  not  seem  to  be  much  helped  in  their  own  efforts  to  break  out  of  the 
cycle  of  poverty  and  frustration,  so  graphically  described  by  the  Commission. 
The  national  income  floor  of  $1,600  for  a  family  of  four  may  be  compared 
with  levels  defined  by  other  groups,  for  various  purposes : 

Administration  Family  Assistance  Plan $  1,600 

Budget  standard,  "average"  family  of  four, 

Illinois  Department  of  Public  Aid,  1969 3,340 

Poverty  Line  Budget,  non-farm  family,  Social 
Security  Administration,  1968  ( "Near  poverty"  budget 

of  SSA  is  about  one-third  higher. ) 3,553 

City  Family  Budget,  Department  of  Labor,  Bureau  of 
Labor  Statistics,  1969: 

"Higher  Level"  (homeownership,  purchase  of 
recreation  and  other  services,  automobile, 

complete  household  equipment,  and  taxes) 13,050 

"Moderate  Level" 9,076 

"Lower  Level"  (high  proportion  for  necessities, 

home  rental,  provide  own  services,  free  recreation) 5,915 

President's  Commission  on  Income  Maintenance;  Ben  Heineman, 

Chairman  (recommended  national  income  floor) 2,400 

National  Welfare  Rights  Organization;  an  organization  of  welfare 

recipients  (recommended  national  income  guarantee) 5,500 

Public  Aid  Advisory  Committee,  Cook  County,  Joseph  L.  Block, 

Chairman  (in  a  Critique  of  the  Administration  Bill,  12-5-69) 3,335 

White  House  Conference  on  Food,  Nutrition,  and  Health, 

12/4/69  (recommended  national  income  floor,  adopted 

by  delegates)  5,500 




Since  1685  when  the  civic  leaders  of  Boston  went  around  closing  up  caves, 
there  has  been  a  government  response  to  the  housing  situation.  Over  the 
years,  of  course,  official  methods  of  dealing  with  the  housing  problem  have 
become  more  politic.  Today,  for  example,  governments  typically  issue  mas- 
sive detailed  reports,^  which  rationalize  complex  programs,  which  in  turn  are 
facilitated  by  sophisticated  delivery  systems.  But  to  what  avail?  These  elabo- 
rate programmed  responses  have  hardly  been  more  effective  than  earlier 
primitive  methods.  As  the  Kerner  Report  noted,  after  more  than  three 
decades  of  housing  programs,  for  many  "the  goal  of  a  decent  home  and  suit- 
able environment  is  as  far  distant  as  ever."^ 

The  question  is  "Why?"  Why  is  it  that  government  has  been  unable  to 
deal  effectively  with  the  problem  of  inadequate  housing?  Are  more  effective 
responses  forthcoming?  Does  the  issuance  of  the  Kerner  Report  indicate  a 
more  meaningful  response  to  the  problem?  Or  to  paraphrase  Kenneth  Clark, 
does  the  Report  represent  the  same  old  movie  being  shown  again? 

These  are  difficult  questions  to  answer.  Nonetheless,  an  analysis  of  the 
response  to  the  Kerner  Report  might  provide  some  insights.  The  purpose  of 
this  paper  is  to  examine  the  extent  to  which  the  Commission's  housing 
recommendations  have  been  implemented.  Hopefully,  in  accordance  with 
the  theme  of  the  Assembly,  the  analysis  will  give  some  indication  of  progress 
in  the  housing  field. 

The  paper  is  divided  into  three  parts.  Part  I  summarizes  the  Commission's 
analysis  of  the  housing  problems  and  reviews  key  findings.  Part  II  outlines 
the  Commission's  10  housing  recommendations  and  surveys  the  extent  to 
which  they  have  been  implemented.  In  Part  III  there  is  an  evaluation  of  the 
Report  with  suggestions  for  future  directions  in  dealing  with  the  housing 

^  To  date,  in  the  housing  field,  there  have  been  three  such  reports  issued  by: 
(1)  The  Civil  Disorders  Commission  {Kerner  Report);  (2)  The  National  Commis- 
sion on  Urban  Problems  (Douglas  Commission)  ;  and  (3)  The  President's  Committee 
on  Urban  Housing  (Kaiser  Committee). 

"^Report  of  the  National  Advisory  Commission  on  Civil  Disorders  (New  York: 
Bantam  Books,  1968),  p.  467.   Hereafter  cited  as  Report. 


lission  Analysis,  Findings  and  Strategies 

In  compelling  language  the  Commission  recognized  and  described  the 
linkage  between  inadequate  housing  and  civil  disorder.  In  effect,  the  Com- 
mission admitted  that  inadequate  housing  was  a  serious  political  problem 
and  in  this  significant  sense  its  analysis  differed  from  previous  analyses. 

Previously,  for  example,  housing  was  not  considered  to  be  a  problem, 
much  less  a  governmental  or  political  problem.  To  be  sure  there  were  slums; 
but  for  many,  slums  were  not  necessarily  viewed  as  an  undesirable  phenomenon, 
i.e.,  as  a  problem.  On  the  contrary;  for  many,  slums  were  viewed  as  a  part  of 
the  "dynamics  of  progress,"  a  "way  station  on  the  road  up."  According  to 
this  view  slums  were  proof  of  the  mobility  process  and  in  this  sense  were  not 
considered  a  "problem."^  It  is  hardly  surprising,  in  this  context,  that  for 
years  government  did  little  to  redress  the  matter  of  inadequate  and  indecent 

More  recently,  perhaps  since  the  passage  of  the  National  Housing  Act  in 
1934,  inadequate  housing  has  been  viewed  as  a  governmental  problem.  How- 
ever, the  housing  problem  typically  has  been  associated  with  certain  physical 
shortcomings,  such  as  ugly  buildings,  unsanitary  conditions,  and  general  over- 
crowding. In  accordance  with  this  definition  of  the  problem  as  a  physical 
kind  of  condition,  the  characteristic  governmental  response  was  physically  to 
remove  the  building  or  to  rehabilitate  an  area.  Obviously  such  programs  as 
urban  renewal  were  designed,  not  to  eliminate  the  conditions  which  caused 
inadequate  housing,  but  only  to  deal  with  the  physical  manifestation  of  the 
underlying  conditions.  The  point  is  that  programs  based  upon  a  defective 
problem  analysis  were  doomed  to  failure.  But  at  least  inadequate  housing 
was  recognized  officially  as  a  governmental  problem.  This  was  the  necessary 
first  step. 

With  the  issuance  of  the  Kerner  Report,  the  governmental  response  to 
inadequate  housing  has  entered  what  might  be  viewed  as  the  second  phase. 
With  regard  to  housing,  the  Commission's  central  finding  was  that 

In  nearly  every  disorder  city  .  .  .  grievances  related  to  housing  were  important 
factors  in  the  structure  of  Negro  discontent.* 

In  short,  the  Commission  said  that,  in  part,  inadequate  housing  conditions 
had  caused  recent  civil  disorders.  The  housing  problem,  by  this  analysis,  was 
a  political  problem  which  logically  required  a  political  response. 

Clearly  the  Commission  added  a  new  dimension  to  the  analysis  of  the 

^  See  Alan  Haber,  Report  to  the  Office  of  Economic  Opportunity  Demonstration 
Section:  The  Community  Organization  Approach  to  Anti-Poverty  Action  (Ann 
Arbor:   University  of  Michigan),  1967,  p.  353. 

■'  Report,  p.  473. 


housing  problem.  Whether  the  Commission  proposed  a  more  effective  or  even 
a  different  response  to  this  problem  analysis  is  another  question. 

Having  established  that  inadequate  housing  represented  one  of  the  deepest 
grievances  of  the  Negro  community,^  the  Commission  suggested  two  "basic 
strategies"  for  dealing  with  the  situation.  These  strategies  derived  from  the 
finding  that  two  major  factors,  widespread  poverty  and  racial  discrimination 
in  the  housing  market,  sustained  inadequate  housing  conditions  and  intoler- 
able grievances.''  In  accordance  with  these  dual  findings,  the  Commission 
proposed : 

1.  That  the  supply  of  housing  suitable  for  low-income  families  should  be 
expanded  on  a  massive  basis. 

2.  That  areas  outside  of  ghetto  neighborhoods  should  be  opened  up  to 
occupancy  by  racial  minorities.^ 

To  implement  these  "strategies"  —  and  as  a  way  of  responding  to  the 
analysis  of  the  housing  problem  —  the  Commission  proposed  10  key  programs. 
The  following  section  will  outline  the  nature  of  these  10  programs  and  will 
survey,  point  by  point,  the  extent  to  Avhich  they  have  been  implemented, 
especially  in  Illinois. 

Part  II 

The  Question  of  Implementation:    Illinois  Response  to  the  Kerner 
Commission  Recommendations 

As  an  overall  goal  the  Commission  first  recommended  provision  of 
600,000  low-  and  moderate-income  housing  units  next  year,  and  6  million 
units  over  the  next  five  years.  This  proposal  was  a  clear  recognition  of  both 
the  dimensions  of  the  housing  problem  and  the  unprecedented  national  effort 
which  would  be  necessaiy  to  meet  widespread  housing  needs.  As  a  major 
objective  then,  the  degree  to  which  this  proposal  has  been  implemented  pro- 
vides a  rough  measure  of  the  impact  of  the  Report  in  general.  Unfortunately 
this  proposal  has  not  significantly  been  implemented  at  either  the  national 
or  the  state  level. 

Although  no  exact  figures  are  available  at  the  national  level,  HUD  officials 
estimated  that  a  maximum  of  233,000  subsidized  units  could  be  constructed  in 
fiscal  1969.^  This  estimate  was  based  upon  receipt  of  maximum  appropriation 
requests.  Given  the  recent  substantial  cutbacks  in  housing  funding  in  general, 
it  is  doubtful  that  even  this  "less  than  half"  maximum  will  be  realized.    Evi- 

°  According  to  the  Commission's  "grievance"-scaling  system,  inadequate  housing 
ranked  at  the  first  level  of  intensity  behind  police  practices  and  unemployment. 
Report,  p.  143. 

^Report,  p.  473. 

'  Report,  p.  474. 

^  One   Year  Later   (Washington  D.  C:    The  Urban  Coalition,    1969),  p.  51. 

dence  from  the  state  level  indicates  that  achievements  in  low-cost  housing 
construction  are  less  than  impressive. 

In  Illinois  for  example,  on  a  proportionate  basis  (with  approximately 
l/20th  of  the  total  national  population)  no  fewer  than  30,000  new  low- 
income  units  should  have  been  constructed.  This  is  a  minimum  figure,  as  it 
is  deduced  without  regard  to  the  special  housing  needs  which  exist  in  a 
highly  urbanized,  industrial  state.  Nevertheless,  even  this  30,000  minimum 
has  not  been  reached.  Since  the  issuance  of  the  Commission's  recommenda- 
tions, only  3,832  low-rent  housing  units  have  been  constructed  in  Illinois  in 
1968.''  While  this  figure  represents  a  21  per  cent  increase  over  the  number 
of  units  added  during  1967  (further  stressing  the  scope  of  the  need  for  low- 
income  housing  in  Illinois),  the  21  per  cent  growth  rate  has  "enabled  Illi- 
nois to  maintain  the  position  as  second"  in  provision  of  low-income  units. ^° 
The  point  is  that  other  states  are  doing  no  better. 

It  should  be  noted  that  although  these  levels  of  implementation  are  hardly 
impressive,  the  provision  of  more  units  represented  only  the  first  of  ten  Com- 
mission proposals.  While  the  remaining  nine  recommendations  also  can  be 
viewed  as  a  way  of  providing  more  units,  for  purposes  of  analysis,  these  other 
proposals  can  be  discussed  as  separate  programs.  This  is  to  suggest  that  the 
question  of  implementation  can  be  measured  in  greater  detail  by  an  exami- 
nation of  these  other  programs. 

For  example,  the  second  recommendation  called  for  an  expanded  and 
modified  below-market  interest  rate  program.  With  focus  on  the  private  sec- 
tor, the  idea  was  to  make  long-term,  low-interest  financing  available  to  non- 
profit and  limited-profit  sponsors.  The  Commission  viewed  this  mechanism  as 
the  best  one  currently  available  "for  engaging  private  enterprise  in  the  task  of 
providing  moderate  and  lower-income  housing. "^^ 

At  the  national  level,  under  the  1968  Housing  Act,  section  236  estab- 
lished an  assistance  program  whereby  limited-profit,  nonprofit,  or  cooperative 
housing  sponsors  can  receive  FHA-insured  mortgage  financing  for  as  low 
as  1  per  cent  interest  rate  for  up  to  40  years.  Section  236  replaces  the  familiar 
221  (d)  (3)  provision  \vhich  had  set  interest  rates  at  3  per  cent  but  which 
is  no  longer  being  funded.  Whereas  221  (d)  (3)  set  a  rather  high  upper- 
income  level  of  eligibility,  section  236  gives  preference  to  lower-income  fami- 
lies. Moreover,  under  the  new  section  235  (j)  in  the  1968  act,  and  under 
the  1966  221  (h)  pi'ovision  amended  in  1968,  financed  interest  rates  can  go 
as  low  as  1  per  cent.  Generally,  under  any  of  these  procedures  the  govern- 
ment makes  up  the  difference  between  the  market  interest  rate  and  the 
amount  of  interest  which  tenants,  in  effect,  pay  through  their  rentals.    Al- 

^  Report  of  the  State  Housing  Board  to  the  Governor,  "Highlights  of  1968  and 
Observations"    (Chicago,  Illinois:    Illinois  State  Housing  Board,    1969),  p.    1. 
'°Ibid.,  p.  1. 
"  Report,  p.  476. 

though  these  technical  statutoiy  changes  have  been  made,  HUD  officials 
hesitate  to  evaluate  the  effectiveness  of  the  changes  due  to  the  general  con- 
dition of  "tight  money."  That  is,  even  modest  mortgage  rates  are  relatively 
severe  under  the  current  tight-money  situation.  ^^ 

In  Illinois,  according  to  recent  statutor)'  changes,  the  Illinois  Housing 
Development  Authority  (IHDA),  which  was  established  in  1967,  may  make 
noninterest-bearing  advances  to  nonprofit  corporations  for  constructing  or 
rehabilitating  housing.  Again,  however,  there  is  a  serious  limitation  in  that 
IHDA  can  make  no  advances  unless  permanent  mortgaging  is  ensured  by 
state  or  federal  money. ^^  The  State  Housing  Board  also  is  active  in  generat- 
ing private  sector  construction  and  rehabilitation.  According  to  the  Board's 
1968  report,  more  than  V2  million  dollars  was  granted  to  two  not-for-profit 
corporations  in  order  to  foster  the  construction  of  moderate  as  well  as  low- 
income  housing.  Although  this  allocation  is  innovative  in  the  sense  that  some 
money  goes  to  neighborhood  corporations  (in  East  St.  Louis) ,  in  view  of  the 
scope  of  the  housing  problem,  the  amount  disbursed  is  modest  at  best.^* 
Again,  at  the  state  level,  it  is  safe  to  conclude  that  generation  of  private 
sector  money  and  productivity  has  not  been  especially  effective  with  regard 
to  low-income  units. 

The  same  conclusion  might  be  drawn  with  respect  to  the  Commission's 
third  recommendation  which  called  for  an  expanded  and  modified  rent  sup- 
plement program,  and  an  ownership  supplement  program.  According  to  the 
Commission,  the  rent  supplement  program  represented  a  highly  flexible  tool 
for  subsidizing  housing  costs  "because  it  permits  adjustment  of  the  subsidy 
according  to  the  income  of  the  tenant."^'  Although  the  concept  clearly  has 
theoretical  merits,  there  has  been  mixed  progress  in  meeting  the  criteria  sug- 
gested by  the  Commission.  First,  rigid  architectural  standards  have  not  been 
relaxed  to  make  unit  cost  standards  easier  to  meet.^®  As  a  second  matter, 
some  legislative  changes  have  been  effected.  For  example,  the  statutory  limi- 
tation of  rent  supplements  to  new  or  newly  rehabilitated  housing  has  been 
removed.  As  a  third  matter,  the  rent  supplement  concept  has  been  extended 
to  provide  home  owoiership  for  low-income  families.  As  the  Urban  Coalition 
reports : 

^'  See  an  excellent  summary  of  the  program  in  Guide  to  Federal  Low-  and  Mod- 
erate-Income Housing  and  Development  Programs  (Washington,  D.  C:  The  Urban 
Coalition),  1968. 

'"^  Illinois  Revised  Statutes,  1967,  Ch.  SlVi,  Sec.  309,  310. 

^*  Report  of  the  State  Housing  Board  to  the  Governor,  "Housing  Corporations" 
(Chicago,  Illinois:  Illinois  State  Housing  Board,  1969),  p.  26.  East  St.  Louis  re- 
ceived only  $37,754.25. 

^'Report,  p.  477. 

^"  With  regard  to  low-cost  production  techniques,  architects  generally  are  viewed 
as  a  major  obstacle  in  that  they  hesitate  to  become  involved  in  mass-produced 
"neutral"  buildings. 

Under  the  new  interest  subsidy  program  for  homeowners,  25  percent  of  the  initial 
money  can  be  used  to  aid  in  the  purchase  of  existing  homes." 

These  technical  expansions,  however,  seem  to  be  offset  by  a  significant  cut- 
back in  rent  supplement  funds  from  $65  million  to  $30  million.  In  this 
context,  any  technical  statutory  revisions  might  be  viewed  as  irrelevant.  What 
good  does  it  do  to  make  less  money  more  expendable?  At  the  very  least, 
the  monetary  cutbacks  seem  to  push  the  realization  of  legislative  achieve- 
ments far  into  the  future. 

The  Commission's  fourth  proposal  called  for  a  federal  write-down  of 
interest  rates  on  loans  to  private  builders.  Although  similar  to  the  second 
proposal,  this  recommendation  generally  was  more  oriented  to  private  de- 
velopers. This  distinction  is  that  "private"  in  this  context  refers  to  normal 
profit  dealers.  The  federal  government  responded  to  this  proposal  by  making 
write-down  assistance  available  through  section  235  of  the  1968  Housing 
Act,  whereby  FHA  makes  mortgage  assistance  payments  to  the  private  hous- 
ing developer's  commercial  mortgagor.  The  assistance  is  similar  to  that  of 
section  236  (interest  reduction  payments)  in  that  the  program  can  lower 
the  interest  rate  paid  by  a  moderate-income  buyer  to  as  low  as  1  per  cent.^^ 
It  should  be  noted,  however,  that  the  groups  affected  by  this  program  gen- 
erally will  be  those  of  a  higher  income  than  those  affected  by  section  236. 
That  is,  the  program  is  designed  for  private  unlimited  profit  developers  whose 
market,  as  the  Commission  recognized,  would  be  the  "moderate-rent"^^  ten- 
ant. Such  a  program  seems  to  have  little  bearing  on  the  major  sustaining 
conditions  of  inadequate  housing,  i.e.,  widespread  poverty  and  private  market 

The  Commission's  fifth  proposal  called  for  an  expanded  and  more  diver- 
sified public  housing  program.  The  idea  here  was  to  expand  funding  so  as 
to  reduce  unit  cost  limitations  and  thereby  overcome  institutional  projects 
and  large  concentrations  of  low-income  families.  To  achieve  the  shift  in 
emphasis,  the  Commission  urged:  first,  the  leasing  of  scattered  site  units; 
and  second,  the  expansion  of  present  "turnkey"  programs  whereby  housing 
authorities  purchase  low-rent  units  constructed  by  private  developers  instead 
of  constructing  new  projects. 

With  regard  to  the  first  objective,  leased  housing  for  families  in  public 
units  has  been  a  part  of  the  Housing  Act  since  1965.  Although  the  new 
leasing  programs  enacted  in  1968  added  new  features  (turnkey  is  the  promi- 
nent change),  generally  there  has  been  no  dramatic  change  in  the  number 
of  public  housing  dwellers  in  privately  owned  buildings.    Since    1965,   for 

"  One  Year  Later,  p.  52. 

^*  Guide    to    Federal    Law    and    Moderate    Income    Housing    and    Community 
Development  Programs,  p.  10. 
^^  Report,  p.  478. 


example,  leased  units  have  been  occupied  primarily  by  the  elderly.  There 
is  no  evidence  to  indicate  that  this  was  changed  significantly;  but  even  if 
it  -was,  the  gain  is  offset  by  the  fact  that  the  number  of  families  lix'ing  in 
leased,  noninstitutional  units  is  not  significant.  Chicago,  ^vith  36,000  families 
in  public  housing,  for  example,  had  only  875  families  moved  into  "standard 
apartments"  in  privately  o^vned  buildings  under  the  Chicago  Housing  Au- 
thority's leasing  program. 

With  regard  to  the  second  objective,  a  number  of  "turnkey"  programs 
exist  whereby  housing  authorities  are  authorized  to  purchase  low-rent  units 
constructed  by  private  developers.  While  these  programs  represent  legal 
devices  for  ending  racial  concentration,  at  present  there  are  no  programs 
that  seriously  threaten  the  continued  existence  of  the  slums. 

This  is  true  with  regard  to  the  Commission's  high  priority  sixth  recom- 
mendation: mi  expanded  Model  Cities  Program.  Viewing  Model  Cities 
as  "potentially  the  most  effective  weapon  in  the  federal  arsenal  for  a  long- 
term,  comprehensive  attack  on  the  problems  of  American  cities,"^°  the  Com- 
mission urged  that  the  program  be  expanded  beyond  the  1967  coverage  of 
63  cities,  and  that  appropriations  be  raised  to  a  minimum  of  $1  billion.  The 
manner  in  which  these  dual  recommendations  were  implemented  reveals  a 
great  deal  about  the  general  nature  of  the  political  process  and  about  the 
efficacy  of  housing  programs  in  particular.  On  the  one  hand,  in  the  second- 
round  allocations,  the  number  of  Model  Cities  programs  was  increased  to 
150  in  1968-69.  On  the  other  hand,  Model  Cities  funds  were  cut  back  from 
$500  million  to  $312.5  million.^^  The  net  effect  of  these  two  changes  might 
be  to  give  the  outward  appearance  of  progress  while  actually  destroying  the 
meaning  and  purpose  of  the  Model  Cities  concept.  Consider  that  the  origi- 
nal purpose  of  the  program  was  to  concentrate  funds  and  resources  in  a  few 
selected  "demonstration"  cities.  Given  the  nature  of  the  political  process  — 
with  the  need  on  the  part  of  decision-makers  to  expand  their  constituencies 
—  the  funds  were  so  disbursed  as  to  destroy  the  original  concept  of  the  pro- 
gram. The  disconcerting  fact  is  not  that  cities  were  selected  for  "political" 
reasons,  but  that  the  fragmenting  nature  of  the  political  process  reversed  the 
purpose  of  a  key  housing  program. 

The  argument  can  be  made,  of  course,  that  any  input  of  money  in  some 
cities  is  indication  of  meaningful  progress.  For  example,  in  Illinois,  the  four 
cities  which  receive  Model  Cities  money  use  limited  funds  not  only  as  oper- 
ating money  but  also  as  "seed"  money.  That  is,  initial  planning  and  action 
grants  are  used  to  attract  other  federal  programs  and  resources.  Although 
it  is  too  earlv  to  evaluate  the  effectiveness  of  the  four  Illinois  Model  Cities 

'"  Report,  p.  479. 

''  See  One  Year  Later,  pp.  51-58. 

programs,^^  theoretically,  at  least,  even  small  amounts  of  initial  money  might 
have  significant  import.  In  this  sense  there  has  been  some  achievement; 
however,  in  terms  of  the  Commission's  criteria,  funding  of  the  program  was 
not  sufficient  to  expand  the  coverage  from  63  to  150  cities.  Consequently, 
Model  Cities  programs  currently  are  operating  under  severe  limitations. 

Since  half  of  the  Model  Cities'  total  1968  fiscal  authorization  of  $625  mil- 
lion was  eaiTnarked  for  urban  renewal  programs,  it  is  appropriate  to  discuss 
the  Commission's  seventh  recommendation  which  called  for  a  reoriented  and 
expanded  urban  renewal  program.  Essentially  the  Commission  urged  greater 
funding  levels  as  well  as  more  emphasis  in  renewal  programs  on  low-income 
needs.  The  realization  was  that  past  projects,  with  limited  funds,  "were 
aimed  primarily  at  bolstering  the  economic  strengths  of  downtown  areas."^^ 
The  overall  result  of  such  projects  was  to  substantially  reduce  the  supply  of 
low-cost  housing. 

In  response  to  the  needs  of  the  poor,  a  number  of  statutory  changes  have 
been  made  with  regard  to  the  1968  urban  renewal  provisions.  For  example, 
the  1968  act  provides:  (1)  that  20  per  cent  of  the  housing  units  redeveloped 
in  urban  renewal  projects  shall  be  for  low-  and  moderate-income  families; 
(2)  that  a  special  "write-down"  price  for  urban  renewal  land  is  available 
when  the  land  is  put  to  low-income  uses;  and  (3)  that  in  general,  urban 
renewal  proposals  must  give  priority  to  the  needs  of  low-  and  moderate- 
income  families.  In  short,  in  terms  of  statutory  revisions,  urban  renewal  is 
increasingly  being  converted  into  a  tool  to  help  low-income  families.  Al- 
though the  funding  of  urban  renewal  was  cut  from  the  budget  request  of 
$1.4  billion  to  $800  million,  this  amount  continued  expenditures  at  prior 
levels.^*  It  is  also  significant  that  more  than  $300  million  of  Model  Cities 
money  was  earmarked  to  have  an  impact  on  urban  renewal  areas.  None- 
theless, these  statutory  changes  have  not  as  yet  resulted  in  noticeable  reorienta- 
tion projects.  In  Chicago,  for  example,  disputes  between  low-income  renewal 
residents  and  upper-income  area  residents  have  not  been  resolved.  Given  the 
truly  "advisory"  nature  of  project  committees  in  Chicago,  only  the  most  opti- 
mistic observer  would  conclude  that  Chicago's  poor  will  win  in  a  long-term 
dispute  with  the  urban  renewal  bureaucracy.  The  serious  cutback  in  Chi- 
cago's program  (from  $50V2  million  to  $371/2  million)  operates  as  a  further 
constraint  on  the  major  Illinois  urban  renewal  program. 

With  regard  to  the  eighth  recommendation,  reform  of  obsolete  building 
codes,  even  statutory  changes  have  been  difficult  to  implement.    There  has 

"  Chicago  and  East  St.  Louis  have  completed  the  planning  phase  but  have  just 
entered  the  first  year  of  the  action  phase.  Rock  Island  and  Carbondale,  second-round 
selections,  are  in  the  planning  phase. 

''  Report,  p.  480. 

-*  One  Year  Later,  p.  58.  For  a  concise  summary  of  this  and  other  housing 
programs  see  Congressional  Quarterly  Weekly  Report  (Washington,  D.  C:  U.S. 
Government  Printing  Office,  1968). 

been  activity  at  both  the  national  and  the  state  level,  but  little  achievement 
to  date. 

In  general,  the  purpose  of  building  code  revision  is  to  eliminate  anti- 
quated requirements  that  prevent  builders  from  taking  advantage  of  new 
mass-production  and  innovative  technologies.  Nationally,  there  has  been  no 
effective  response  to  this  serious  problem.  Although  both  the  Douglas  Com- 
mission on  Urban  Problems  and  the  National  Bureau  of  Standards  have  been 
active  in  this  area,  as  yet  there  is  no  National  Uniform  Building  Code.^^ 
Nor  is  there  likely  to  be  such  a  code  in  the  immediate  future.  At  present, 
HUD  officials  seem  to  be  emphasizing  the  need  for  state  level  action  in  this 

At  the  state  level  there  has  been  some  action,  but  little  success.  In  Illinois, 
two  bills  which  would  have  provided  for  statewide  "performance"  standards, 
advisory  councils  and  certification  of  building  inspectors,  were  defeated  in 
the  1969  legislative  session. ^"^  Although  a  similar  bill  undoubtedly  will  be 
submitted  in  1971,  legislative  insiders  recognize  the  great  political  obstacles 
which  must  be  overcome  to  get  a  bill  through  the  General  Assembly.^^  At 
present  there  is  no  statewide  code,  and  local  governments  are  free  to  enact 
a  variety  of  measures  which  are  expensive  to  modify  and  difficult  to  enforce. 

In  contrast  to  this  situation,  there  has  been  state  and  national  action  with 
regard  to  the  Commission's  ninth  proposal  which  called  for  enactment  of  a 
national,  comprehensive,  and  enforceable  open  occupancy  law. 

At  the  national  level,  as  a  legislative  memorial  to  Martin  Luther  King, 
fair  housing  was  made  part  of  the  Civil  Rights  Act  of  1968.  According  to 
the  Urban  Coalition,  however,  Title  VIII  of  the  act  "only  gradually  will 
become  the  kind  of  competitive  fair  housing  measure  advocated  by  the  Com- 
mission."^^ The  absence  of  meaningful  enforcement  mechanisms  was  cited 
as  the  major  reason.  While  the  administration  requested  $11  million  for 
enforcement  purposes,  the  Senate  voted  $9  million  and  initially  the  House 
refused  to  authorize  any  money  for  implementation.  Commenting  on  the 
denial  of  funds  in  1968,  HUD  Secretary  Weaver  said: 

We  simply  cannot  implement  the  fair  housing  law  without  more  personnel.  .  .  . 
Without  manpower,  the  fair  housing  legislation  is  meaningless.^^ 

^  There  are  a  number  of  unofficial  codes  sponsored  by  the  Building  Officials 
Conference  of  America,  the  National  Insurance  Association,  the  Southern  Building 
Officials,  and  the  International   Society  of  Building  Officials. 

^^  State  Housing  Board  Report,  (Springfield:  State  Housing  Board,  1969), 
p.  2.  A  performance  code  (as  distinguished  from  a  specific  standard  code)  makes 
technological  innovations  possible  by  relaxing  the  need  to  comply  with  rigid  sizes, 
rules,  and  materials  standards. 

"'  The    construction    industry   and    labor   unions    are    two   sources    of   opposition. 

'*  One  Year  Later,  p.  54. 

^^Congressional  Quarterly  Weekly  Report  (Washington,  D.  C:  Congressional 
Quarterly,  Inc.,  Sept.  27,  1968),  p.  2540. 


Although  a  supplemental  appropriation  of  $2  million  was  approved,  the  bill 
is  no  panacea  and  enforcement  problems  are  numerous.  Quickie  listings, 
informal  listings,  and  private  brokerage  techniques  remain  as  major  obstacles. 
Ultimate  success  will  depend,  it  seems,  upon  changing  realtors'  attitudes. 

At  the  state  level,  open  housing  legislation  has  been  introduced  and  de- 
feated in  the  past  four  regular  sessions.  In  a  special  session  in  July,  1968,  a 
fair  housing  bill  did  get  through  the  House  but  was  killed  in  the  Senate's 
Registration  and  Miscellany  Committee.  However,  at  the  end  of  the  session, 
"permissive"  legislation  was  enacted  \vhich  gave  cities  and  villages  statutory 
recognition  to  enact  open  occupancy  ordinances  at  the  local  level. ^°  In  1969, 
a  similar  bill  applying  the  permissive  language  to  counties  was  defeated.  The 
current  situation  is  that  at  the  state  level  there  is  no  "comprehensive  and 
enforceable"  open  occupancy  law.  And,  for  a  while  at  least,  there  is  not 
likely  to  be  one. 

At  the  local  level,  a  number  of  cities  have  enacted  fair  housing  codes. 
The  city  of  Chicago,  for  example,  has  had  an  open  occupancy  ordinance 
for  some  time.  Suffice  it  to  say  that  implementation  has  been  less  than 

Perhaps  the  most  dramatic  response  has  been  in  regard  to  the  Commis- 
sion's tenth  recommendation,  reorientation  of  federal  housing  programs  to 
place  more  low-  and  moderate-income  housing  outside  of  ghetto  areas.  So- 
called  "scatteration"  techniques  have  been  discussed  at  the  national  level  in 
terms  of  the  leasing  features  of  "turnkey"  provisions  and  land  availability 
programs.  However,  the  most  significant  development  in  terms  of  the  pro- 
posal is  the  famous  "Austin"  decision  in  Illinois. 

In  a  Chicago  case^^  initiated  by  Negro  tenants  in  public  housing,  U.S. 
District  Court  Judge  Richard  Austin  prescribed  in  detail  the  steps  which 
must  be  taken 

to  prohibit  the  future  use  and  to  remedy  the  past  eflfects  of  the  defendant  Chicago 
Housing  Authority's  unconstitutional  site  selection  and  tenant  assignment 
procedures.  .  .  . 

Basically  the  Negro  tenants  argued  that  CHA  sites  for  family  public  housing 
were  chosen  by  methods  which  had  the  effect  of  perpetuating  Chicago's  pat- 
tern of  residential  racial  segregation.  Information  in  the  case  disclosed  that 
CHA  officials  deferred  to  local  aldermen  who  vetoed  any  extension  of  public 
housing  into  white  neighborhoods.  Essentially,  the  "Austin  Plan"  seeks  to 
reverse  the  concentration  of  housing  projects  in  all-black  neighborhoods  by 
requiring  specifically  that  CHA  build  700  units  in  predominantly  white  areas 
(in  the  city  or  in  the  suburbs)  before  it  builds  any  units  in  black  areas  of  the 

'"Illinois  Revised  Statutes,  1969,  Ch.  24,  Sec.  11-1. 

"'  Gautreaux  v.  Chicago  Housing  Authority,  Civ.  No.  66C1459  (ND  ILL.,  July  1, 


city.  Moreover,  the  "Austin  Plan"  prohibits  CHA  from  concentrating  large 
numbers  of  units  in  or  near  a  single  location,  and  from  building  family  units 
above  the  third  floor.  In  short,  Austin  ruled  that  CHA  must  build  small  and 
integrated  public  housing  developments  on  scattered  sites  throughout  the 
Chicago  metropolitan  area.  Without  question,  the  Austin  Plan  is  of  great 
political  significance.  At  the  local  level  and  in  the  housing  area,  it  is  of  the 
same  purport  as  the  Brown  school  desegregation  case.  The  issue  is  whether 
the  Austin  decision  will  be  implemented  with  the  same  deliberate  speed. 

Those  optimistic  about  the  Austin  Plan  see  the  eventual  end  of  the  "proj- 
ect" concept.  However,  given  the  past  resistence  in  white  neighborhoods  to 
low-income  blacks,  it  is  difficult  to  assume  that  implementation  will  be  real- 
ized. Those  who  are  pessimistic  about  the  Austin  Plan  see  the  end  of  public 
housing  in  the  Chicago  area.  That  is,  the  ultimate  solution  to  the  problem 
might  be  no  further  constiTiction.^^  At  this  point,  however,  it  is  only  safe  to 
note  that  either  alternative  is  possible. ^^ 

Conclusions  and  Alternatives 

Patterns  of  implementation.  Obviously,  in  vie^v  of  the  Austin  decision  and 
other  developments,  it  is  hazardous  to  draw  any  firm  conclusions  regarding 
the  question  of  implementation.  Things  are  still  happening  and  evaluation 
is  difficult.  Nonetheless,  wdth  regard  to  the  10  housing  recommendations,  a 
number  of  general  patterns  seem  to  emerge : 

1.  In  general,  implementation  has  not  measured  up  to  the  Commission's 
own  criteria.  Nothing  close  to  600,000  units  have  been  built.  Racial  ghettos 
remain  a  part  of  the  urban  scene.  To  be  sure,  progress  is  not  achieved  over- 
night. But  upon  closer  analysis  it  appears  that  even  long-range  meaningful 
implementation  is  unlikely. 

2.  As  a  particular  matter,  it  appears  that  evident  legal  achievements  were 
offset  by  political  constraints  such  as  low  funding  and  lack  of  enforcement 
mechanisms.  For  example,  at  the  legislative  and  judicial  levels,  there  has 
been  evidence  of  both  detailed  and  dramatic  change.    However,  many  of 

"-  This  is  hardly  an  unreal  possibility.  In  the  mid-50's,  the  expansion  of  the 
Branch  County  Hospital  became  entwined  with  the  racial  issue  of  "where"  the 
new  facility  would  be  located.  Integration-oriented  Negro  leaders  wanted  private 
neighborhood  hospitals  to  open  their  doors  to  Negro  patients.  The  city  officials 
wanted  the  new  hospital  built  in  the  black  community.  In  the  end,  the  race  issue 
was  resolved  by  not  building  the  proposed  facility.  See  Edward  C.  Banfield,  Political 
Influence  (New  York:   Free  Press,  1961),  Chapter  2. 

^'  Other  alternatives  are  of  course  possible.  For  example,  city  officials  might 
get  around  such  technicalities  as  three-story  limits  for  families  by  continuing  to 
construct  high-rises  with  families  in  the  first  three  floors  and  elderly  residents  on 
the  next  seven. 


these  largely  rhetorical  responses  have  yet  to  be  translated  into  actual  change 
of  problem  conditions. 

3.  In  the  few  cases  where  responses  have  been  implemented,  the  charac- 
teristic approach  has  been  so  diffuse  as  to  render  the  response  ineffective. 
One  apparent  example  is  the  fragmentation  of  Model  Cities  money.  At  the 
state  level,  the  same  kind  of  fragmentation  occurred  wdth  the  disbursal  of 
$110,000  of  housing  board  money  to  no  less  than  14  local  political  units. 
Theoretically,  the  money  was  to  be  used  for  so-called  comprehensive  planning. 

4.  Not  only  have  achievements  been  infrequent,  but  it  seems  that  the  few 
cases  of  achievement  have  occurred  in  selected  areas.  For  example,  it  ap- 
pears that  achievements  are  more  frequent  in  programs  aimed  at  the  private 
sector  than  in  recommendations  aimed  at  low-income  groups.  As  noted,  in 
response  to  recommendation  four,  section  235  was  initiated  to  engage  the 
private  sector  in  the  housing  program.  Theoretically,  such  a  program  in- 
directly benefits  the  poor.  But  there  are  serious  doubts  that  the  "trickle 
down"  theory  has  ever  operated  in  favor  of  the  disadvantaged.  As  another 
example,  the  one  program  which  maintained  — ■  indeed  increased  —  its  fund- 
ing le\^el  was  urban  renewal.  Traditionally,  this  program  has  aided  the  cen- 
tral district  businessman  at  the  expense  of  the  poor. 

5.  Moreover,  the  types  of  changes  occuning  have  to  do  mainly  with 
structural  rather  than  substantive  matters.  For  example,  with  regard  to 
public  housing,  the  provision  of  "in-project"  services  can  be  viewed,  not  as 
a  substantive  change,  but  as  a  structural  rationalization  of  the  delivery  of 
traditional  services.  At  the  state  level,  the  creation  of  a  cabinet-rank  Depart- 
ment of  Local  Government  Affairs  in  large  part  represents  a  reshuffling  of 
traditional  governmental  relationships  and  services. 

In  summary,  it  appears  that  the  implementation  of  Commission  recom- 
mendations has  been  modest.  Moreover,  responses  have  been  largely  rhetori- 
cal, fragmented,  and  limited  to  certain  areas  and  certain  types  of  changes. 
At  this  point,  therefore,  it  seems  appropriate  to  ask  why  implementation  is 
difficult  to  effect. 

Technical  and  substantive  problems.  In  terms  of  dealing  with  the  housing 
situation  tw^o  categories  of  problems  are  evident. 

First,  it  is  possible  to  identify  a  number  of  serious  technical  (statutory  or 
structural)  obstacles  to  effective  programming.  At  the  national  level,  for 
instance,  it  is  known  that  complicated  rules  of  procedure  obstruct  meaningful 
utilization  of  the  rent  supplements  program.  At  the  national  level,  coordi- 
nated housing  programs  are  hindered  by  multiple  sources  of  funding,  which 
delays  program  "take  off."  At  the  state  level,  fragmentation  of  authority 
between  SHB  and  IHDA  represents  another  theoretical  drawback.  As  noted, 
the  Commission  recognized  such  problems  and  placed  great  emphasis  on 
technical  kinds  of  changes,  and  in  certain  cases  such  changes  were  effected. 

No  doubt  focus  on  the  revision  of  such  technical  problems  is  significant.  But 
the  technical  obstacle  is  only  one  part  of  the  problem  of  implementing  change. 
There  is  a  second  set  of  obstacles  which  might  be  classified  as  substantive 
matters.  It  appears  that  the  key  substantive  block  to  effective  implementation 
of  recommendations  has  to  do  with  the  question  of  political  power  in  our 
society.  The  argument  is  that  the  political  system  does  not  solve  the  housing 
problem  because  the  very  political  processes  which  control  the  government 
limit  the  system's  effectiveness  in  the  housing  area.  That  is,  the  determina- 
tion of  the  public  good  (establishing  the  priorities  of  public  investment  and 
governmental  intei-v'ention)  goes  on  traditionally  in  legislative  bodies  and  in 
executive  agencies.  However,  as  Alan  Haber  notes : 

The  composition  of  these  bodies  and  hence  the  policy  predispositions  of  their  mem- 
bers is  determined  by  electoral  and  appointive  processes.  These  processes  in  turn 
reflect  the  relative  political  power  of  organized  constituencies  and  interest  groups.** 

The  affluent  are  the  most  powerful  and  the  best  organized.  The  influence 
of  the  National  Association  of  Real  Estate  Boards,  wdth  a  constituency  of 
84,000  realtors,  is  a  good  example.  The  black  poor  have  no  influence  and 
are  not  as  yet  organized.  That  is  why  they  are  the  victims  of  the  housing 
situation.  They  will  continue  to  have  a  housing  problem  until  they  gain 
political  power.  Government  officials  are  responsive  and  responsible  to  the 
organized  private  interests  which  control  the  political  processes.  It  follows 
that  housing  programs  will  reflect  and  support  the  interests  of  powerful  pri- 
vate groups.  By  this  analysis  it  is  hardly  surprising  that  housing  programs 
designed  to  aid  the  poor  have  enjoyed  minimal  success.  In  this  sense,  the 
substantive  issue  of  political  power  precedes  technical  changes  and  is  central 
to  the  housing  problem. 

A  substantive-political  alternative.  Clearly  the  Kerner  Commission  did 
not  deal  with  the  substantive  issue  of  political  power.  The  Report  gives  two 
paragraphs  to  the  matter  of  powerlessness,^^  but  generally  the  Commission 
focused  on  technical  changes  and  recommendations.  This  is  reflected  in  the 
Commission's  use  of  the  term  "strategy."  In  the  Report,  "strategy"  is  used 
in  the  sense  of  a  general  objective  (more  housing,  less  segregation)  not  as  a 
means  of  implementation.  Although  such  goals  are  important,  programs  will 
fail  if  methods  of  implementation  are  not  suggested. 

Within  the  scope  of  this  paper  it  is  impossible  to  suggest  the  many  ways 
of  dealing  with  the  imbalance  of  power  in  our  system  and  the  subsequent 
linkage  to  the  problem  of  housing.  Nonetheless,  if  the  relevant  issue  is  power- 
lessness,  there  is  at  least  one  way  of  dealing  with  it.  Two  housing  programs 
and  one  poverty  program  have,  to  some  degree,  endorsed  and  legitimized  the 

^  "The  American  Underclass,"  Poverty  and  Human  Resources  Abstracts,  Vol.  II, 
No.  3  (May-June,  1967),  pp.  5-21. 
'=  Report,  p.  205. 

concept  of  community  organization  of  the  disadvantaged  so  that  they  might 
have  some  control  over  government  programs  and  thus  over  their  own  des- 
tinies. The  community  organization  concept  is  based  on  the  notion  that  until 
the  disadvantaged  enter  the  calculus  of  decision-making,  government  policies 
will  not  benefit  them.^^  The  stress  is  on  the  maximum  participation  of  the 
poor,  and  the  objective  is  to  secure  them  a  place  in  the  political  system  via 
political  mobilization.  Decentralization,  self-determination,  political  indepen- 
dence, and  control  of  programs  are  techniques  associated  with  the  community 
organization  model.  While  the  concept  has  its  shortcomings  and  is  by  no 
means  the  only  option  available,  it  is  offered  as  one  way  of  dealing  with  the 
key  obstacle  of  powerlessness  to  effect  meaningful  changes. 

Perhaps  it  is  unfair  to  suggest  that  the  Commission  members  should  have 
dealt  with  the  substantive  as  well  as  the  technical  issues.  Given  the  limits  of 
time,  staff,  legitimacy,  etc.,  it  is  impossible  to  be  all  things  to  all  men.^^  At 
the  very  least,  it  would  be  difficult  for  any  group  of  "reasonable"  men  to 
propose  "radical"  solutions  to  political  problems. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  Commission  did  come  up  with  a  radical  (root 
cause)  analysis  of  the  riots  and  of  the  housing  problem.  Why  is  it  that  Com- 
mission methods  of  dealing  with  the  problem  fell  short  of  the  analysis?  Is 
there  something  about  American  politics  which  precludes  designing  effective 
solutions  to  problems?^^  Again,  these  are  difficult  questions.  The  only  cer- 
tain proposition  is  that  there  will  be  no  cure  until  the  diagnosis  is  faced  up  to. 

The  essence  of  the  Commission's  diagnosis  is  that  white  racism,  nurtured 
by  a  white  power  structure,  was  the  root  cause  of  black  rioting.  The  logic  of 
the  present  analysis  is  that  white  racism  must  be  ended  and  that  to  end  it, 
power  in  America  must  be  redistributed.  The  Commission  did  not  adequately 
deal  with  this  key  matter.  Until  the  issue  is  dealt  with,  and  until  power  is 
redistributed,  governmental  responses  will  be  irrelevant  to  the  needs  of  the 
powerless.  Housing  and  other  programs  will  surely  fail.  And  in  the  words 
of  Kenneth  Clark,  we  can  expect  to  see  the  same  old  movie  again.  This  is 
an  ugly  thought,  but  one  compelled  by  the  facts. 

^^  Alan  Haber  presents  the  model  in  his  Report  to  the  OEO. 

"  See  Michael  Lipsky  and  David  J.  Olsen,  On  the  Policy  of  Riot  Commissions 
(Madison:   Institute  for  Research  on  Poverty,  1968). 

^  Other  groups  —  divergent  as  the  SDS  or  the  Wallaceites  —  have  a  fairly 
accurate  assessment  of  their  situation  (alienation,  nonresponsiveness  of  government). 
Characteristically,  how^ever,  their  solutions  are  wide  of  the  mark.  The  Kerner  Commis- 
sion, by  analogy,  fell  short  of  the  mark. 




It  is  appropriate  to  begin  this  section  with  what  should  really  be  the  major 
conclusion  of  the  paper.  My  remarks  are  confined  with  rare  exceptions  to 
the  narrow  topic  of  police-community  relations  in  the  urban  ghettos.  Be- 
cause of  this,  it  is  necessary  to  point  out  that  the  problem  of  race  relations 
in  the  modem  United  States  is  only  secondarily  a  police  problem  and  it  is 
only  secondarily  a  problem  that  can  be  dealt  with  by  improving  this  or  that 
aspect  of  public  administration.  The  problem  is  basically  political  in  the 
larger  meaning  of  that  term  and  its  long-run  solution  will  require  political 
action  not  only  to  make  available  equal  opportunity  for  Negroes  to  compete 
effectively  \vith  whites  but  political  action  designed  to  make  the  more  disad- 
vantaged Negroes  capable  of  effective  competition. 

Recent  Social  Changes:    The  Negro  Enters  Civil  Society 

This  is  not  the  time  to  repeat  the  usual  litany  of  social  change  with  which 
by  now  everyone  is  familiar  —  changes  in  the  labor  market,  in  the  willingness 
of  many  heretofore  acquiescent  groups  to  accept  restriction,  etc.  There  are, 
however,  some  changes  that  have  not  received  as  much  attention  as  they  de- 
serve and  which  are  particularly  relevant  to  the  problem  at  hand.  Four  such 
changes  merit  brief  attention:  the  entrance  of  the  Negro  into  civil  society; 
recent  patterns  of  migration  of  Negroes  to  Northern  and  Western  cities;  the 
decreasing  relevance  of  the  old  politics  in  the  face  of  new  bureaucratic  social 
instruments;  and  basic  shifts  away  from  coercion  as  a  means  of  social  control. 

The  most  fundamental  of  recent  changes  is  the  entrance  of  the  Negro 
into  civil  society.  Like  most  such  events,  the  occasion  is  one  of  turmoil  and 
violence.  This  entrance  has  two  important  implications  germane  to  the  Com- 
mission's concerns.  First,  Negroes  are  now  legitimate  claimants  to  protection 
by  the  police.  No  longer  are  "Casbah"  strategies  of  walling  up  Negro  areas 
without  police  service  acceptable.  Second,  like  all  citizens  in  a  modem  legal 
community,  they  are  now  entitled  to  protection  from  the  police.  The  balance 
is  hard  to  strike  in  any  situation  but  it  points  to  the  most  fundamental,  long- 
run  issue  in  police-Negro  relations. 

But  Negroes  enter  modern  civil  society  not  only  by  having  civic  institutions 

extended  to  them  where  they  are  but  by  migrating  from  the  rural  South  to 
the  urban  centers  mainly  in  the  North  and  West.  Thus  the  rapid  change  in 
the  civil  status  of  Negroes  is  greatly  complicated  by  the  appearance  of  large 
numbers  of  urban  ghetto  residents  almost  entirely  unequipped  for  life  in  the 
city.  The  combination  of  migration  and  disadvantage  helps  create  special 
cultural  forms  which  are  of  particular  significance  for  policing  the  ghetto. 
But  migration  and  segregation  also  make  for  great  heterogeneity  in  the  ghetto. 
All  sorts  and  conditions  of  men  can  often  be  found  in  densely  packed  prox- 
imity. This  density  and  heterogeneity,  coupled  with  lack  of  detailed  knowl- 
edge of  ghetto  social  structure  and  also  coupled  with  the  way  police  activities 
are  organized,  means  that  police  often  seem  to  act  without  the  fine  discrimi- 
nations they  are  able  to  make  under  other  circumstances. 

Problems  posed  by  migration  and  by  the  clamoring  of  excluded  popula- 
tions for  civil  dignity  are  not  new  to  American  society.  They  have  existed  in 
the  past  and  have  been  met  with  greater  or  lesser  success  and  orderliness  by 
a  variety  of  social  devices.  What  distinguishes  the  new  situation  is  not  only 
the  intransigence  of  race  as  a  source  of  social  conflict  but  the  ineffectiveness 
of  the  old  politics  of  bargaining  and  machine  representation  and  the  rise  of 
large  bureaucratic  instruments  of  social  administration.  The  new  politics  in- 
cludes the  service  bureaucracies,  not  as  relatively  weak,  passive  organizations 
permeated  by  external  private  pressures,  but  as  strong,  active  organizations 
relatively  removed  from  the  effects  of  extra-organizational  social  involvements. 
Given  this  situation,  the  center  of  gravity  in  social  change  and  adaptation 
shifts  from  electoral  to  organizational  politics;  from  organizations  as  products 
of  the  community  to  the  community  as  the  product  of  organizations;  from 
the  relatively  "blind"  operation  of  many  small  units  in  a  dispersed  power 
market  to  the  relatively  "rational"  operation  of  fewer  and  larger  units. 

This  change  brings  opportunities  as  well  as  difficulties.  In  the  section  on 
modem  police  organization  we  shall  see  that  in  the  case  of  the  police  and 
police-community  relations  the  opportunities  greatly  outweigh  the  problems, 
and  that  properly  conceived  and  properly  handled,  the  "principled  bureau- 
cracy" makes  available  an  important  instrument  for  the  reduction  of  com- 
munity conflict. 

The  last  of  the  social  changes  on  which  I  shall  comment  is  the  basic  shift 
away  from  coercion  as  a  means  of  social  control  in  modern  American  society. 
This  can  be  documented  in  many  areas  —  changes  in  child-rearing  practices, 
shifts  to  human  relations  approaches  in  industrial  management,  the  elaborate 
development  of  extra-curricular  activities  as  a  way  of  managing  children  in 
school,  etc.  This  is  not  to  say  that  authoritative  control  is  not  exercised,  but 
rather  that  the  role  of  physical  coercion  has  declined  appreciably.  And,  just 
as  importantly,  the  rhetorics  of  social  control  have  changed  perhaps  even 
more  than  the  realities. 


Looked  at  on  the  largest  stage  —  control  and  integration  in  the  nation  — 
major  social  conflicts  are  increasingly  mitigated  by  distributive  rather  than 
repressive  activities.  This  change  in  the  relative  balance  of  coercion  and  dis- 
tribution in  the  integration  of  American  society  has  had  a  bad  impact  on 
the  general  "public  image"  of  the  police  who  seem  a  brutish  anachronism  in 
a  society  increasingly  devoted  to  control  through  economic  sanctions,  ideo- 
logical persuasion,  and  welfare-state  distributive  programs.  Even  a  simple 
accounting  of  public  expenditures  in  the  Twentieth  Century  shows  not  only 
that  investment  in  police  has  not  kept  pace  with  simple  factors  such  as  in- 
flation and  population  growth  but  also  that  investment  in  other  means  of 
managing  social  conflict  —  such  as  education,  economic  subsidies,  and  wel- 
fare ■ — ■  have  increased  dramatically  relative  to  investment  in  police.  Negroes 
are  the  last  large,  identifiable  and  self-conscious  group  to  experience  the 
transition  from  control  through  coercion  to  the  more  complex  modern  situa- 
tion. This  transition  is  closely  linked  to  the  migration  from  the  rural  South 
previously  mentioned. 

The  police  are  never  "popular"  in  the  common  usage  of  that  term.  But 
the  gradual  development  of  noncoercive  forms  of  social  control  has  not  only 
affected  the  place  of  the  police  in  the  general  armamentarium  of  the  state  but 
has  also  in  many  ways  increased  the  isolation  of  the  police  in  the  more  rou- 
tine activities  of  social  control  in  the  local  community.  Until  quite  recently 
the  police  were  systematically  excluded  from  participation  in  the  distribution 
of  the  "goodies"  of  the  welfare  state  and,  more  significantly,  they  were  also 
excluded  from  participation  in  the  supportive  and  rehabilitative  activities 
that  are  the  welfare  state's  unique  approach  to  the  management  of  specifi- 
cally deviant  behavior.  This  exclusion  was  not  the  consequence  of  hostility 
between  Negroes  and  the  police  but  of  the  hostility  toward  the  police  of 
generations  of  social  workers  and  other  distributive  functionaires.  Indeed 
many  rehabilitation  programs  have  an  overt  anti-police  ideology.  Some 
change  seems  to  be  taking  place,  especially  in  the  management  of  juveniles. 
Suffice  it  to  say  that  the  stripping  from  the  police  of  any  distributive  and 
supportive  functions  precisely  at  a  time  when  the  society  as  a  whole  has 
shifted  away  from  a  coercive  "stance"  toward  the  citizenry  and  also  at  the 
time  when  rural  Southern  Negroes  are  for  the  first  time  able  to  escape  the 
atmosphere  of  pervasive  white  violence  leaves  the  police  in  an  extremely  ex- 
posed position. 

Limits  on  Improvements  in  Police-Community  Relations:    Police  as  Leaders 

In  most  American  cities  until  recently  one  way  for  the  police  to  improve 
their  relations  with  the  community  was  to  be  rough  on  Negroes.  Indeed  in 
many  cities,  especially,  though  by  no  means  exclusively  Southern  cities,  a 
fundamental  mission  of  the  police  was  Negro  control.  Statements  like  these 
are  harsh  and,  perhaps,  a  bit  exaggerated  but  they  point  up  the  limits  of 

optimism  and  of  euphemism.  For  many  purposes  the  community  does  not 
exist.  Instead,  there  are  harsh  conflicts  and  highly  conflicting  conceptions 
of  what  the  police  should  do.  As  Negroes  become  more  civically  and  politi- 
cally significant  they  (or  the  more  articulate  leaders)  demand  that  they  too 
be  heard  and  that  they  too  be  seen  as  part  of  a  "community"  to  which  the 
police  must  "relate."  The  dimensions  and  difficulties  of  the  problem  can  be 
seen  in  the  ironic  fact  that  despite  great  unevenness  across  the  country  Negroes 
sometimes  have  better  relations  with  the  police  than  with  other  segments  of 
the  civil  order. 

In  many  cities  it  is  possible  for  a  Negro  to  get  efficient  and  fair  police 
service.  In  no  city  is  it  possible  to  get  the  same  from  realtors.  In  many  cities 
the  police  assign  their  best  people  to  the  ghetto  while  the  schools  assign  their 
worst.  In  many  cities  it  is  possible  to  get  a  policeman,  difficult  to  get  a 
lawyer.  In  many  cities  police  are  in  the  ghetto  nights  and  weekends  working 
with  troubled  boys  while  teachers  escape.  In  many  cities  a  young,  intelligent 
Negro  has  a  chance  to  become  a  municipal  policeman  —  none  at  all  to  be- 
come a  union  plumber.  In  many  cities  a  Negro  woman  fearful  of  armed 
robbery  can  get  serious  police  attention  and  at  least  hope  for  action  against 
the  felon.  For  her  to  seriously  hope  for  action  against  a  derelict  landlord 
would  cast  doubt  on  her  sanity.  In  many  cities  it  is  possible  to  be  treated 
decently  in  the  station  house  but  not  to  be  allowed  at  all  in  the  country  club. 

We  are,  in  short,  asking  the  police  to  lead  the  community  in  race  rela- 
tions. For  them  merely  to  reflect  the  community  would  be  a  disaster.  To  say 
this  makes  plain  the  limits  of  reasonable  expectation,  however,  and  cautions 
us  to  be  on  the  alert.  The  American  police  have  traditionally  been  used  to 
perform  tasks  too  disgusting  for  the  rest  of  the  populace.  We  are  in  some 
danger  that  relating  to  Negroes  will  join  the  list. 

If  the  police  are  to  improve  their  relations  in  the  Negro  ghetto  and  if 
they  are  to  lead,  as  they  must,  in  extending  civil  protection  and  social  decency 
to  the  disadvantaged  Negroes,  then  they  must  be  organized  so  as  to  be  free 
of  certain  community  involvements.  They  must  paradoxically  be  organized 
so  as  to  decrease  certain  forms  of  community  influence  so  they  can  be  guided 
by  principled  norms  of  conduct  and  not  by  subgroup  prejudice.  It  is,  in 
short,  no  help  to  have  the  police  closely  linked  into  the  local  community  if 
that  community's  main  concern  is  the  suppression  of  Negroes. 

These  considerations  lead  naturally  into  the  brief  discussion  of  modem 
police  organization  which  follows.  But  they  also  lead  naturally  to  a  relative 
pessimism  about  at  least  the  short-run  future.  It  will  take  important  efforts 
by  the  police  merely  to  keep  things  from  getting  worse.  Moreover,  if  the 
small  cadre  of  truly  extremist  leadership  among  Negroes  is  successful  they 
will  seek  to  provoke  incidents  between  police  and  populace  for  the  sole  pur- 
pose of  triggering  disorder. 

Modern  Police  Organization:    From  Cultural  Participation  to  Community  Management 

Research  on  police  organization  has  only  begun  and  we  have  no  truly 
detailed  studies  either  of  the  historical  development  of  police  organization 
or  of  the  effects  of  various  ways  of  organizing  police  work.  Nevertheless,  the 
outlines  of  recent  major  developments  are  fairly  clear  and  at  least  some  work 
goes  beyond  the  level  of  pure  speculation  about  effects. 

A  variety  of  terms  have  been  used  to  describe  the  central  trend  in  modern 
police  organization:  professionalization,  modernization,  bureaucratization,  ra- 
tionalization. The  term  professionalization  is  the  one  most  often  used,  espe- 
cially in  police  circles,  but  it  refers  to  a  wide  variety  of  developments  in  train- 
ing, selection,  command  and  control,  and  general  sophistication  of  planning, 
manpower  allocation,  etc.  For  purposes  of  these  comments  the  most  dis- 
tinctive meaning  of  these  developments  has  been  found  in  the  progressive 
centralization  of  control  over  police  operations  and  a  correlative  withdrawal 
of  police  from  certain  foiTns  of  community  involvement.  Concomitant  with 
these  developments  have  been  dramatic  changes  in  the  efficiency  of  police 
operations,  speed  of  dispatch,  etc.  There  has  also  gradually  developed  a  set 
of  loose  strategic  concepts  about  the  appropriate  mission  of  the  police  in 
reducing  crime  and  an  often-expressed  desire  to  raise  police  occupational 
status,  not  only  by  improved  performance,  but  by  clear  specialization  on  the 
single  function  of  crime  control  through  the  apprehension  of  offenders.  The 
statistical  figures  on  crimes  known  to  the  police  and  crimes  cleared  by  arrest 
are  often  used  as  indicators  of  success.  But  perhaps  the  most  important  single 
emphasis  is  on  preventive  patrol,  especially  under  the  doctrines  of  aggressive 
patrol  or  saturation  patrol. 

One  important  conclusion  I  should  like  to  make  out  of  this  completely 
superficial  discussion  of  police  organization  is  this:  these  professional  develop- 
ments are  a  priceless  civic  resource  won  after  much  struggle  and  against 
heavy  resistance.  For  the  first  time  they  provide  us  with  organizational  in- 
struments sufficiently  under  central  control  to  be  rationally  modifiable  and 
adaptable  to  a  variety  of  tasks.  The  issues  now  are  the  uses  to  which  such 
instruments  are  to  be  put.  It  is  precisely  the  "withdrawal"  from  the  com- 
munity which  characterizes  these  organizations  which  makes  them  available 
to  help  solve  community  conflicts.  After  all,  the  sheriff's  posse  that  whipped 
the  Selma  marchers  was  undoubtedly  better  related  to  its  "community"  in 
the  matter  of  civil  rights  than  any  police  unit  since. 

It  is  particularly  important  that  the  society  not  succumb  to  an  irrational 
nostalgia  for  the  mythical  "old  time  cop."  It  is  understandable  that  in  times 
of  stress  we  should  imagine  that  in  some  golden  age  there  was  peace  and, 
moreover,  that  that  peace  was  brought  about  by  wise  and  kindly  men  exer- 
cising a  kindly  control  over  the  wayward.  In  addition,  it  is  precisely  authority 
exercised  in  this  supposedly  kindly  but  of  course  also  personally  arbitrary 


fashion  that  migrating  Negroes  are  likely  to  hate  most.  To  whites  this  may 
be  the  image  of  Officer  Flanagan.  To  poor  Negroes  it  is  the  image  of  Mr. 

There  is  a  modem,  and  on  the  surface  less  nostalgic,  version  of  the  "Old 
Time  Cop."  This  is  the  idea  that  policemen  should  be  recruited  from  among 
the  local  populace  because  they  will  "know  the  culture."  This  is  a  highly 
doubtful  notion  for  many  reasons,  the  main  one  being  that  it  is  not  possible 
to  recruit  policemen  from  those  segments  of  the  ghetto  which  are  most  prob- 
lematic. Recruit  Negroes  by  all  means,  but  no  one  should  expect  much  more 
knowledge  of  the  problems  at  issue  on  the  part  of  Negro  policemen  than  on 
the  part  of  whites. 

All  these  considerations  lead  to  a  basic  general  conclusion.  The  modern 
police  can  not  function  simply  as  representatives  of  community  culture  — 
assuming  it  is  coherent  enough  to  be  represented.  They  must  stand  aside 
from  the  culture  to  a  large  degree  and  function  as  community  managers. 
This  does  not  mean  that  they  can  function  without  knowledge  of  local  cul- 
ture and  social  structure,  especially  in  the  ghetto,  but  this  knowledge  must 
come  as  the  result  of  sophisticated  training  and  must  be  used  in  the  context 
of  a  self-conscious  awareness  of  the  management  role  of  the  police.  Chief 
among  the  needed  innovations  in  police  training  and  deployment  are  devices 
designed  to  produce  the  requisite  cultural  knowledge  and  to  overcome  the 
culture  shock  experienced  by  policemen.  No  simple  fonnula  about  recruiting 
from  a  supposed  ghetto  culture  will  do  the  trick. 

This  is  especially  the  case  in  periods  of  rapid  social  change  in  which  police 
goals  will  have  to  change  along  with  the  rest  of  the  society.  Police  recruit- 
ment must  emphasize  trainability  and  flexibility,  the  capacity  to  work  in  and 
run  small  teams  with  litde  direct  supervision,  and  the  capacity  to  absorb  and 
further  complex  organizational  goals  in  rapidly  changing  circumstances.  In 
short,  after  a  transitional  period  of  professionalizing  police  organizations  it  will 
be  necessary  to  really  professionalize  policemen. 

Demands  of  the  Present  Situation:    The  Police  as  Monitors  of  Social  Change 

Departmental  policy  and  procedure  must  recognize  that  the  police  are 
presiding  over  a  massive  and  disruptive  historical  change  and  that  police 
action  must  be  geared  to  a  conception  of  the  desirable  outcome  of  that  change 
process  and  not  simply  to  concepts  of  "law  enforcement  as  usual."  In  their 
role  as  community  managers  the  police  will  have  to  participate  more  in  the 
goal-setting  functions  of  government. 

This  involves  them  in  "politics."  But  of  course  they  are  involved  in  poli- 
tics in  one  way  or  another  anyhow.  If  they  are  to  avoid  being  politically 
maneuvered  into  being  hired  oppressors  by  reactionary  whites  or  manipu- 
lated targets  by  extremist  Negro  leaders,  they  will  have  to  present  themselves 
as  detached  and  principled  specialists  in  community  order.    As  an  example, 

when  white  pressure  leads  the  city  government  to  recommend  the  creation 
of  dog  units  for  use  in  the  ghetto,  a  professional  police  chief  should  be  pre- 
pared to  testify  that  such  a  move  would  decrease  rather  than  increase  order 
and  stability. 

Implications  for  Law  Enforcement  Practice 

The  following  focus  will  be  on  suggestions  within  the  la\v  enforcement 
function  itself.  Later  I  shall  try  to  deal  with  the  problem  of  possible  shifts  in 
the  "service  mix"  which  the  police  provide.  The  order  of  discussion  is  de- 
liberate. To  reiterate,  the  basic  service  which  the  police  provide  to  Negroes 
is  protection  and  through  that  the  extension  of  meaningful  citizenship. 

It  will  be  helpful  to  state  my  recommendations  in  the  form  of  a  few  basic 
policy  guidelines  with  some  more  specific  suggestions  and  some  interpretive 
discussion  following  them.  The  guidelines,  like  all  such  general  statements, 
are  simple  and  even  trite.  They  flow,  however,  from  the  more  complex  ma- 
terial of  the  introduction  and  can  perhaps  be  made  less  simple  and  trite  by 
the  more  specific  suggestions  which  follow  them. 

Policy  Guideline  I:  As  community  managers  and  monitors  of  social 
change,  the  police  should  enforce  the  law  as  vigorously  as  possible  but  short 
of  the  point  where  vigorous  enforcement  produces  more  strain  than  the 
system  can  stand. 

This  of  course  means  that  the  social  and  civic  state  of  the  ghetto  is  a 
legitimate  concern  of  the  police  as  well  as  the  crime  rate  therein.  Some 
implications  of  this  guideline  can  be  spelled  out  in  terms  of  more  specific 
choices  and  requirements. 

A.  The  choice  of  areas  of  concentration  of  enforcement  effort. 

As  previously  mentioned,  the  ghetto  is  in  need  of  security  of  person  and 
property.  This  is  the  fundamental  service  performed  by  the  police.  They 
should  not  reduce  efforts  in  this  direction,  especially  in  the  area  of  inter- 
personal violence,  although  there  are  modifications  possible  in  the  organiza- 
tion and  procedures  used.  The  police  can,  however,  reduce  their  efforts  in 
the  areas  of  enforcement  involving  "crimes  without  victims"  such  as  prosti- 
tution and  gambling. 

Since  these  latter  enforcement  activities  are  largely  at  the  initiation  of  the 
police  themselves,  they  do  not  ordinarily  constitute  a  call  for  service  from  a 
citizen.  Moreover,  they  constitute  an  "invasion"  of  ghetto  social  structure 
and  a  kind  of  gratuitous  inter\'ention  in  activities  which  neither  the  ghetto 
resident  nor  the  larger  community  are  likely  to  see  as  a  serious  threat  to 
public  order. 

B.  The  choice  between  response  to  reported  offenses  and  attempts  to 
weaken  the  social  formations  which  are  seen  to  produce  offenses. 

In  many  ways  it  is  sound  doctrine  for  the  police  to  deal  with  crime  "be- 
fore" it  occurs.  Unfortunately,  the  way  such  a  doctrine  is  implemented  may 
cause  more  harm  than  good.  The  most  obvious  case  in  point  is  the  common 
practice  of  keeping  pressure  on  street-comer  groups  and  gangs.  Practices 
vary  greatly,  of  course,  but  in  many  cities  a  great  deal  of  effort  is  put  into 
"harassment"  of  groups  of  older  teenagers  and  young  male  adults  on  the 
twin  grounds  that  this  keeps  them  off  balance  and  also  helps  maintain  the 
authority  of  the  police.  It  is  doubtful  that  there  is  much  real  payoff  here 
in  the  apprehension  of  real  offenders  and  there  is  much  reason  to  believe  that 
the  hostility  generated  vastly  outweighs  any  gain  in  "respect"  for  the  police. 

Other  preventive  practices  can  be  discussed  under  this  rubric.  Doctrines 
of  aggressive  patrol  often  give  rise  in  high  crime  areas  to  verv-  high  frequencies 
of  field  interrogation  and  high  frequencies  of  arrests. 

These  interrogations  and  arrests  may  in  specific  cases  be  justified,  but  the 
high  rates  seem  predicated  on  the  assumption  that  the  entire  ghetto  popula- 
tion is  "crimogenic."  In  short,  the  entire  ghetto  population  is  sometimes 
treated  like  a  gang.   There  are  three  consequences  of  this  worth  mentioning. 

1.  There  may  be  a  high  level  of  interference  with  the  free  passage  of 
citizens  who  at  least  at  that  time  are  not  involved  in  crime. 

2.  Arrest  records  for  minor  offenses  are  so  high  that  whole  subpopu- 
lations,  especially  young  males,  come  to  see  themselves  as  licked  before 
they  start;  as  outlawed  from  civil  society  before  they  have  ever  partici- 
pated. Precisely  as  educational  and  emplo)TTient  opportunity  for  young 
Negroes  expands,  this  relatively  free  use  of  arrest  becomes  the  marginal 
difference  betv\'een  making  it  and  not.  The  better  things  get  in  the 
ghetto,  the  more  hostility  such  practices  will  generate.  However,  to  some 
degree  arrest  frequencies  are  the  result  of  the  alternatives  available  to  the 
police.  This  problem  will  be  discussed  later. 

3.  This  kind  of  police  action  fails  to  "shore  up"  the  large  majority  of 
law-abiding  citizens  in  the  ghetto  as  much  as  is  desirable.  The  sometimes 
undiscriminating  conduct  of  police  tends  to  drive  the  law-abiding  and 
the  law-violating  together  as  allies  against  the  police.  This  should  be 
avoided  at  almost  any  cost.  Not  only  does  this  destroy  the  social  base 
for  improved  police  relations,  but  it  tends  to  discourage  the  very  social 
developments  it  should  be  the  main  function  of  the  public  sector  to  en- 
courage —  the  development  of  more  of  a  stake  in  conformity  and  more 
successful  performance  within  the  law.  The  Negro  factory  worker  walk- 
ing home  late  at  night  from  his  job  should  be  escorted,  not  interrogated. 

C.  The  choice  of  social  locations  of  intervention. 

As  a  general  matter,  policemen  police  the  streets  or  at  least  they  police  in 
the  streets.    No  quarrel  can  be  made  with  this  in  general.    However,  police 

manpower  allocation  strategies  do  not  seem  to  be  derived  from  any  sophisti- 
cated analysis  of  just  what  social  spaces  need  to  be  made  safer.  If  we  take  as 
the  main  goal  of  police  w^ork  the  production  of  safety  rather  than  the  appre- 
hension of  offenders,  then  a  beginning  could  be  made  on  the  needed  strategies. 
It  should  be  emphasized,  however,  that  the  police  are  not  at  fault  here,  since 
there  has  been  utterly  no  attention  given  traditionally  to  these  matters  by 
social  scientists.  We  have  produced  highly  sophisticated  analyses  of  the  social 
structure  of  factories  to  help  managers  increase  production  and  even  more 
sophisticated  analyses  of  consumer  behavior  to  help  advertisers  increase  sales. 
We  have  had  almost  no  discussion,  much  less  research,  designed  to  help 
police  produce  public  safety.  What  has  been  done  has  been  done  by  the 
police  themselves  almost  entirely. 

One  of  the  major  gains  of  modem  police  organization  and  professionaliza- 
tion  is  the  development  of  actually  and  potentially  much  more  sophisticated 
ideas  of  manpower  allocation.  But  key  questions  remain  unanswered.  What 
are  the  ideal  places  for  locating  police?  What  are  ghetto  social  patterns  in  de- 
tail so  that  the  safety  of  ghetto  residents  can  be  more  adequately  assured? 
Should  policemen  ride  busses  late  at  night  to  protect  late  workers?  Should 
there  be  many  more  local  police  posts  —  corner  kiosks,  etc.  —  along  key 
routes?  Are  there  ways  of  distributing  the  police  so  they  can  pay  more  atten- 
tion to  the  people  they  are  sworn  to  protect  and  less  to  potential  offenders? 
Is  it  really  impossible  to  station  police  inside  buildings,  etc? 

Policy  Guideline  II:  The  police  should  pursue  a  policy  of  co-optation 
aimed  at  reducing  their  isolation  as  enforcers  of  order  in  the  ghetto. 

This  guideline  could  have  been  phrased  in  various  ways.  The  basic  thrust 
is  to  decrease  the  vulnerability  of  the  police  as  the  symbolic  repressive  agents 
of  the  society  and  also  to  enlist  the  police  as  sources  of  pressure  on  other 
agencies  which  now  shrink  from  the  "nasty"  job  of  exerting  authority.  The 
concrete  strategies  will  vary  from  place  to  place  and  depending  upon  the 
particular  other  agency  or  institutional  sphere  involved.  I  shall  try  to  spell  out 
a  few  examples  of  approaches  with  particularly  crucial  social  units. 

A.  Examples  of  co-optation  procedures  with  respect  to  the  legal  system. 

Many  police  practices  which  are  disruptive  in  the  ghetto  exist  because  of 

weak  institutional  supports  for  police  authority  in  the  United  States.    The 

police  are  likely  to  expand  their  operating  authority  to  give  themselves  a 

"cushion,"  so  to  speak. 

1.  The  police  should  refuse  to  interrogate  a  suspect  in  the  station  un- 
less the  suspect  has  counsel.  They  should  refuse  even  if  the  suspect  waives 
his  right  to  counsel.  Correlatively,  the  police  should  demand  that  social 
arrangements  for  the  routine  provision  of  counsel  be  developed.    If  this 

police  insistence  on  due  process  should  turn  out  to  be  illegal,  then  I 
suggest  a  substitute  which  will  be  discussed  more  generally  later  on.  This 
is  the  Citizen  Observer  technique.  If  a  suspect  waives  his  rights  or  if 
counsel  is  unavailable,  the  police  should  enlist  local  citizens  (paid  by 
OEO?)  as  observers  of  interrogation.  The  police  should  initiate  this 
program  and  advertise  it  fairly  widely.  They  should  especially  try  to 
enlist  members  of  black  activist  groups  for  this  purpose. 

2.  The  police  should  bend  every  effort  to  gain  statutory  and  judicial 
support  for  police  authority  where  it  is  legitimately  exercised.  Most  par- 
ticularly, the  courts  should  be  much  tougher  on  cases  of  physical  resistance 
to  the  police. 

Some  of  the  above  may  seem  "hard-nosed"  but  it  derives  from  some 
crucial  considerations  which  have  been  partially  discussed  earlier.  First,  the 
American  police  take  an  incredible  amount  of  "gufT"  from  the  citizenry- — 
especially  in  high-crime  ghetto-type  areas.  This  guff  is  mainly  verbal  but  oc- 
casionally physical.  Second,  while  the  society  seems  firmly  committed  to  the 
social  ideal  of  an  insultable  police,  it  does  not  seen  so  clear  about  an  assaultable 
police.  Nevertheless,  the  judicial  attitude  is  often  "You're  a  big  man  with 
weapons.  Learn  to  take  care  of  yourself  out  there."  A  quite  inappropriate 
comparison  is  often  made  to  the  British  police  who  through  some  magic  are 
supposedly  able  to  gain  more  compliance  with  less  force.  Much  of  the  magic 
lies  in  the  routine  respect  shown  to  police  authority  by  the  lower  courts,  even 
to  the  point  of  using  testimony  as  to  the  conduct  of  the  defendant  toward  the 
constable  as  an  important  criterion  in  deciding  sentences  within  the  available 
discretionary  range.  The  cowboys-and-Indians  orientation  of  many  American 
courts  has  its  limits.  Of  course  there  is  much  bootleg  support  for  the  police 
by  the  American  legal  system  which  occurs  in  the  plea-bargaining  process,  etc., 
but  its  very  bootleg  nature  means  that  the  police  must  use  semideviant  means 
to  get  formal  support. 

Third,  American  society  has  a  long  history  of  abandoning  the  police  and, 
in  effect,  segregating  them  from  the  rest  of  the  social  order.  The  rest  of  the 
society  does  not  want  to  get  involved  in  the  use  of  coercive  authority  and  thus 
isolates  those  who  must.  This  abandormient  has  been  particularly  pronounced 
in  the  case  of  the  Liberal  Intellectuals,  who  until  recently  either  ignored  the 
police  or  talked  about  "brutes  in  blue."  Suddenly  these  Liberals'  values  (and 
interest,  one  must  add)  are  threatened  by  disorder  and  the  police  are  inun- 
dated by  attention  from  the  professors. 

Fourth,  the  most  serious  instance  of  withdrawal  from  law  enforcement  by 
any  relevant  social  category  has  been  the  case  of  the  legal  profession.  The 
situation  is  too  well  known  to  require  detailed  comment,  but  the  seriousness 
of  the  situation  as  well  as  the  exquisite  irony  of  the  current  state  of  affairs  is 
indexed  by  the  recent  recommendation  of  the  President's  Commission  on 

Law  Enforcement  and  the  Administration  of  Justice  that  it  would  be  a  good 
idea  if  all  police  departments  had  at  least  a  part-time  lawyer  available.  Things 
are  changing,  of  course,  but  until  recently  criminal  law  ranked  low  in  law 
schools;  criminal  defense  practice  ranked  low  in  the  profession,  and  law 
schools  seemed  quite  unwilling  to  train  police  administrators.  Recent  changes 
should  be  very  much  encouraged. 

The  role  of  the  legal  profession  is  even  more  crucial  if  we  attempt  a  some- 
what more  general  summary  of  this  whole  discussion  of  police  and  the  legal 
system.  In  the  long  run,  substantive  and  procedural  legality  is  one  of  the  best 
defenses  of  the  police  as  well  as  one  of  the  best  defenses  from  the  police. 
Legality  is  the  best  overall  normative  base  for  the  police  in  a  time  of  conflict. 
But  legality  in  the  sense  of  adherence  to  norms  of  due  process  does  not  alone 
provide  the  police  with  the  necessary  social  base.  While  the  reciprocal  changes 
mentioned  above  —  more  attention  to  due  process  by  the  police,  more  sup- 
port for  police  authority  by  the  courts  —  point  to  a  more  secure  relationship 
between  the  police  and  the  formal  legal  system  per  se,  it  is  not  a  sufficient 
social  base  for  the  police.  The  police  need  support,  and  the  accompanying 
social  rewards  for  restraint,  from  sources  outside  the  state  apparatus  itself. 

Broadly  conceived,  the  legal  profession  is  the  ideal  linking  or  bridging 
group  because  of  its  involvement  in  the  official  apparatus  and  its  independence 
from  the  state.  Because  of  their  increasingly  crucial  role  in  the  creation  of 
law  as  well  as  public  opinion,  the  law  schools  and  the  organized  Bar  are  the 
key  organizational  foci  of  involvement  of  the  legal  profession.  Because  of  their 
multiple  roles  with  respect  to  the  law,  lawyers  are  the  key  group  in  the  "legal 
community"  as  opposed  to  simply  the  officially  defined  legal  system. 

B.  Examples  of  co-optation  procedures  with  respect  to  social  units  outside 
the  legal  system. 

1.  Following  on  the  argument  above,  the  police  should  make  every 
effort  to  involve  the  legal  profession  in  law  enforcement,  not  only  in  the 
obvious  ways  of  securing  legal  counsel  for  suspects  and  for  the  police 
themselves,  but  in  the  larger  sense  of  participation  of  law  schools  and  the 

2.  The  police  should  make  every  effort  to  avoid  being  placed  in  the 
position  of  hired  "bully  boys"  by  other  social  agencies  —  public  or  private 
—  that  operate  in  the  ghetto.  Thus  if,  for  example,  schools  wish  to  avail 
themselves  of  police  service  they  should  be  required  to  have  representatives 
present  and  participating  at  every  stage  of  the  case  so  that  it  is  clear  that 
both  agencies  share  in  the  imposition  of  authority.  Too  often  in  slum 
areas  the  police  are  visibly  despised  by  social  agency  personnel  and  used 
as  a  "bogey  man"  with  which  to  frighten,  especially  adolescents.  The 
maintenance  of  order  is  a  necessary  accompaniment  of  the  provision  of 

The  police  are  often  accused  of  taking  a  "narrow"  view  of  the  complex 
processes  of  slum  social  change.  Their  view  is  not  necessarily  more  narrow 
than  that  of  other  agencies,  and  much  of  it  comes  by  being  forced  into  a 
narrow  function.  For  example,  I  have  seen  so-called  detached  workers 
glowing  with  gratification  because  they  were  able  to  gain  rapport  with 
"tough"  gangs  when  all  they  did  was  constantly  warn  the  boys  that  if 
they  did  not  straighten  out  they  would  get  "busted."  The  rapport  of  the 
worker  is  purchased  by  increasing  hostility  toward  the  police. 

3.  The  police  should  involve  as  many  ghetto  residents  as  possible  in 
the  role  of  Citizen  Observer.  This  was  previously  discussed  in  connection 
with  station  interrogation  but  it  applies  much  more  generally.  Observers 
should  be  involved  in  all  phases  of  police  operations  —  from  patrol  to 
interrogation  to  lock-up,  etc.  A  local  Citizens'  Advisory  Committee  could 
be  created  from  among  the  observers  and  not  only  manage  the  Citizen 
Observer  program  but  assist  the  police  with  other  problems  as  well.  The 
program  should  be  initiated  by  the  police.  Many  departments  have  similar 
programs  involving  law  students,  journalists,  or  others  as  obsen^ers.  These 
programs  are  not  only  excellent  "public  relations"  for  the  police  but  also 
are  ways  for  police  administrators  to  exert  control  over  the  rank  and  file 
by  raising  the  social  visibility  of  police  operations. 

Most  such  programs,  however,  are  designed  to  relate  police  to  the  non- 
ghetto  community.  Needed  in  addition  are  programs  designed  to  involve 
ghetto  residents  more  closely.  The  police  should  explore  the  possibility  of 
recruiting  on  a  systematic  basis  Citizen  Observers  from  the  ghetto  itself. 
A  particularly  good  strategy  would  be  for  the  police  to  request  other 
agencies  such  as  the  Office  of  Economic  Opportunity  to  provide  funds  for 
small  payments  to  Citizen  Obsei-vers.  This  ^vould  help  to  recompense  low- 
income  ghetto  residents  who  are  working  as  \vell  as  to  attract  some  of  the 

The  "mix"  of  observers  should  include  the  range  of  ghetto  social 
types  —  stable  workmen,  traditional  community  leaders  and  professionals, 
unemployed  men  and,  most  crucially,  members  of  the  new  Black  Po\ver 
groups  and  Black  Nationalists. 

Such  a  Citizen  Observer  program,  if  systematically  developed  and  used, 
^vould  serve  several  purposes.  First,  it  would  improve  police  social  awareness 
of  the  range  and  variety  of  people  in  the  ghetto,  not  by  lectures  on  "brother- 
hood" or  "subcultures,"  but  by  daily  contact.  Second,  it  would  serve  as  a 
device  for  co-opting  potentially  hostile  ghetto  members  into  at  least  superficial 
contact  with  the  law  enforcement  function.  Third,  it  would  again  reduce  the 
isolated  visibility  of  the  police  as  the  alien  source  of  coercion. 

Fourth,  it  would  put  the  police  in  a  favorable  moral  position  with  respect 

to  the  more  extremist  Negro  leaders.  By  taking  the  initiative  in  asking  to  be 
obser\^ed,  the  police  \vould  steal  the  thunder  from  some  of  these  extremists. 
Even  should  they  refuse  on  the  grounds  that  they  do  not  want  to  be  "co- 
opted"  (ever)one  reads  the  social  science  literature  these  days)  so  they  can 
retain  their  revolutionary  purity,  it  would  be  clearer  to  ghetto  residents  and 
potential  followers  that  the  extremist  program  is  one  of  planned  confrontation 
with  the  police  rather  than  one  of  simple  reduction  of  police  "brutality." 

A  fifth  function  servable  by  an  observer  program  is  that  of  introducing 
more  restraint  on  police  conduct,  especially  verbal  conduct,  toward  the 
citizenry.  The  observers  thus  become  an  indirect  arm  of  top  police  administra- 
tion. A  sixth  function  would  be  to  introduce  new  sources  of  communication 
into  the  ghetto  about  police  operations  in  general  as  well  as  about  specific 
incidents.  These  could  be  valuable  antidotes  to  the  wild  rumors  that  some- 
times circulate  about  even  the  most  legitimate  police  activities. 

Seventh,  the  development  of  such  a  program,  especially  if  it  were  on  a 
sizeable  scale,  would  be  a  way  of  performing  the  "shoring-up"  function  men- 
tioned earlier.  Most  (though  not  necessarily  all)  of  the  observers  would  be  re- 
cruited from  among  the  law-abiding  segments  of  the  local  populace.  They 
would  constitute  a  clear  recognition  by  the  police  of  the  social  worth  of  these 
segments.  Such  a  program  would  also  be  a  beginning  in  the  direction  of  en- 
listing such  persons,  at  least  to  some  degree,  on  the  side  of  law  enforcement. 
As  it  is  now,  many  such  persons  want  to  both  have  their  cake  and  eat  it.  They 
want  police  protection  but  they  also  want  to  be  anti-police. 

Eighth  and  finally,  such  a  program  might  help  further  the  process  of  racial 
integration  within  police  departments  themselves.  While  little  is  known  sys- 
tematically, it  is  reasonable  to  believe  that  organizational  inclusion  of  Negro 
officers  has  rarely  led  to  much  interpersonal  integration.  No  intellectually 
sophisticated  effort  has  been  made  to  develop  concepts  of  the  ideal  patterns 
of  intradepartmental  integration,  but  as  a  starter  anything  that  reduces  the 
sometimes  high  levels  of  interracial  animosity  within  departments  might  be  a 
good  idea.  Careful  assignment  of  observers  to  uniracial  and  biracial  police 
teams  and  work  situations  might  be  at  least  a  start  in  that  direction. 

While  Policy  Guideline  II  is  phrased  in  terms  of  co-optation,  many  of  the 
suggested  procedures  and  functions  might  have  been  phrased  in  terms  of  the 
more  traditional  language  of  communication.  This  was  not  done  because 
advice  to  "improve  communication"  has  been  plentiful  and  has  rarely  in- 
cluded, even  in  general  terms,  the  goals  of  such  improvement  nor  the  social 
structural  means  which  should  be  used.  Nevertheless,  there  are  some  desirable 
procedures  directly  involved  in  law  enforcement  that  can  be  seen  as  more 
purely  communicative  and  less  involved  in  actually  creating  new  social  struc- 
tures and  roles.  This  need  for  improved  communication  and  knowledge  leads 
to  the  next  policy  guideline. 

Policy  Guideline  III:  Communication  to  police  about  the  ghetto  should  be 
improved,  as  should  communication  between  police  and  ghetto  residents. 

In  some  ways  this  is  the  most  trite  and  shopworn  of  the  guidelines.  This 
is  so,  not  because  truly  efTective  programs  for  improving  communication  are 
widespread,  but  because  the  talk  about  communication  is  so  common  and 
communication  often  is  seen  as  a  magical  specific  that  can  substitute  for  ef- 
fective reorganization  and  action.  As  a  general  thesis  the  basic  thrust  of  the 
preceding  section  can  be  repeated.  Communication  is  likely  to  be  best  when 
it  takes  place  as  part  of  stable  and  continuing  social  relationships  such  as  the 
Citizen  Observer  program.  In  many  ways  communication  is  best  when  com- 
munication per  se  is  not  the  manifest  aim  of  a  program.  Many  police-com- 
munity relations  programs  do  not  significantly  afTect  the  relational  systems 
which  in  fact  involve  police  and  community,  and  therefore  they  are  less  ef- 
fective than  they  might  be. 

Because  of  the  varied  literature  on  this  aspect  of  the  problem,  I  shall  not 
attempt  much  in  the  way  of  detail  here.  The  more  specific  comments  will  be 
divided  into  two  areas:  communication  to  the  police  and  communication 
between  police  and  ghetto. 

A.  Problems  of  communication  to  the  police  about  the  ghetto. 

Much  effort  is  currently  being  expended  attempting  to  acquaint  the  police 
with  minority  group  cultures  and  attitudes  and  with  the  special  problems  of 
policing,  especially  in  Negro  areas.  To  my  knowledge,  most  of  these  educa- 
tional programs  have  not  been  really  well  evaluated  or  even  researched  at  all. 
Such  educational  programs  sufTer  from  a  number  of  serious  handicaps  — 
shortness  of  time,  removal  from  daily  operations,  the  difficulty  of  translating 
new  "knowledge"  into  effective  procedures,  the  presence  in  influential  posi- 
tions of  command  personnel  who  subtly  or  otherwise  punish  users  of  "new- 
fangled" ideas.  Nevertheless,  the  general  effort  must  be  continued  and  even 

Formal  educational  programs  should  be  expanded,  not  only  because  their 
content  is  needed,  but  because  they  define  policing  as  a  sophisticated  and  "in- 
tellectual" pursuit  in  a  complex  modern  society.  Such  programs  should  ideally 
be  associated  with  colleges  and  universities,  especially  when  conducted  for 
command  personnel.  This  would  help  break  down  the  social  isolation  of  the 
police  from  the  academic  and/or  intellectual  segments  of  the  larger 

These  kinds  of  formal  educational  programming  overlook,  however,  many 
possible  techniques  for  improving  communication  about  the  ghetto  and  its 
problems.  Some  of  these  other  techniques  can  be  briefly  referred  to  here. 
More  detailed  exposition  would  require  more  time  and  certainly  more  knowl- 
edge of  specific  local  details. 


1.  The  use  of  white-Negro  relations  within  police  departments  as 
channels  of  communication.  As  mentioned  previously,  "integrated"  de- 
partments seem  characterized  by  much  estrangement  between  white  and 
Negro  officers.  Perhaps  something  like  "T-Group"  programs  across  racial 
lines  would  be  helpful,  at  least  in  communicating  more  effectively  to 
whites  what  it  is  like  to  be  a  Negro  in  modern  American  society.  Other 
more  sophisticated  uses  of  integrated  teams,  etc.,  might  be  devised. 

2.  Police  departments  could  require  that  as  a  condition  of  promotion 
all  new  sergeants  live  for  some  short  period  with  "host  families"  in  the 
ghetto.  If  done  on  a  regularized  basis,  this  would  also  help  with  problems 
of  changing  the  attitudes  of  ghetto  residents  toward  policemen.  Host 
families  could  be  recompensed  out  of  police  training  budgets  or  some 
other  source. 

3.  Policemen  —  perhaps  mainly  new  sergeants  who  are  a  critical 
group  —  could  be  attached  temporarily  as  part  of  their  training  to  social 
service  agencies  —  public  or  private  —  serving  ghetto  populations.  This 
would  acquaint  them  not  only  with  the  complexity  of  ghetto  social  life  but, 
perhaps  even  more  importantly,  with  the  aims  and  efforts  of  other  service 

Suggestions  such  as  the  above  lead  naturally  to  the  second  half  of  Guide- 
line III,  communication  between  police  and  ghetto  residents. 

B.  Problems  of  communication  between  police  and  ghetto  residents. 

Here,  of  course,  it  is  possible  to  go  far  afield.  Suffice  it  to  say  that  almost 
everything  police  do  in  or  to  any  population  is  "communication"  in  the  sense 
that  it  conveys  important  symbolic  content  even  if  intended  to  simply  do  a 
job.  It  is  not  my  intention  to  cover  the  range  of  police  operations  from  a 
communication  perspective.  Neither  is  it  my  intention  to  discuss  the  variety 
of  devices  such  as  meetings  with  local  groups,  etc.,  which  have  been  developed 
by  police  around  the  countr\'.  As  is  the  case  with  formal  educational  pro- 
grams, these  procedures  have  rarely  been  evaluated  systematically  or  even 
studied  carefully.  Moreover,  it  is  not  clear  what  the  consequences  for  such 
programs  of  the  newly  emerging  Black  Nationalist  and  Black  Power  move- 
ments will  be. 

My  only  suggestion  here  is  in  a  very  ordinary  but,  I  believe,  significant 
area:  Simple  improvement  of  the  level  of  courtesy  with  which  police  ap- 
proach and  deal  with  ghetto  residents  would  pay  big  dividends.  Included 
in  this  courteous  discourse  would  be  much  more  explanation  of  the  rationale 
behind  specific  police  actions,  e.g.,  field  interrogations,  etc. 

On  this  somewhat  banal  note  I  shall  end  this  general  section  on  impli- 

cations  for  law  enforcement  and  turn  to  the  problem  of  the  "service  mix" 
provided  by  the  police. 

Implications  for  an  Increase  in  Supportive  Services 

In  the  introduction  to  these  comments  I  mentioned  the  negative  conse- 
quences for  the  image  of  police  which  flo\v  from  the  fact  that  methods  of 
social  control  and  social  integration  have  generally  shifted  from  the  more 
obviously  coercive  to  a  complex  mixture  of  distributive  activities,  persuasion, 
and  economic  sanctions.  The  police  come  then  to  seem,  even  within  the  realm 
of  state  activity,  exceptional  and  strange.  For  loose  discussion  purposes  we 
can  say  that  the  police  have  come  to  be  identified  almost  entirely  with  the 
coercive  function  of  the  state  and  isolated  from  involvement  in  the  "sup- 
portive" functions  performed  by  the  modern  welfare  state.  This  distinction 
between  coercion  and  support  is  hard  to  make  consistently  because  of  the 
problem  of  specifying  who  the  clientele  of  the  police  are.  The  coercion  of 
person  A  may  be  socially  and  emotionally  supportive  of  person  B. 

Another  social  change  is  relevant  here.  Without  attempting  a  sophisticated 
analysis  of  recent  histor)',  there  are  many  signs  that  all  segments  of  the 
populace  are  much  more  acutely  aware  of  their  formal  rights  and  more  in- 
sistent that  they  be  respected.  Recent  Supreme  Court  decisions  may  indi- 
rectly contribute  by  making  the  populace  more  rights-conscious  and  less  willing 
to  let  the  police  function  more  broadly  as  general  representatives  of  "moral," 
as  opposed  to  more  narrowly  legal,  order.  Paradoxically,  it  seems  as  though 
the  increased  power  of  the  state  is  accompanied  by  a  decreased  power  of  the 
police.  The  public  as  a  whole  seems  less  willing  than  formerly  to  accept  in- 
formal dispute-settling  and  conflict-mediating  activities  on  the  part  of  the 
police,  or  indeed  police  direction  in  any  matter  in  which  the  legal  basis  for 
police  action  is  not  clear.  Another  way  of  saying  the  same  thing  is  to  say  that 
increasingly  police  are  required  by  popular  attitude  either  to  make  a  formal 
arrest  or  to  take  no  action  at  all  in  a  situation. 

Given  this  situation,  attempts  to  change  the  ser\dce  "mix"  provided  by  the 
police  in  a  more  supportive  direction  may  run  into  serious  popular  and  even 
legal  difficulties.  Clearly  the  need  is  for  activities  that  do  not  run  the  risk  of 
increasing  the  visibility  of  police  as  agents  of  coercion. 

Policy  Guideline  IV:  Police  should  increase  the  amount  of  supportive  ser- 
vice that  they  perform. 

This  is  a  far  more  complex  area  than  those  which  have  already  been 
discussed,  and  specific  recommendations  are  harder  to  make  without  much 
more  qualification  than  is  appropriate  for  this  document.  Nevertheless,  it  is 
possible  to  divide  discussion  here  into  three  roughly  distinct  areas:  the  per- 
formance of  "traditional"  or  customary  nonenforcement  or  semienforcement 
services,  the  development  of  routinized  large-scale  services  of  a  more  support- 


ing  or  "helping"  nature  which  are  also  highly  visible,  and  development  of  the 
police  in  the  direction  of  a  generalized  "public  safety"  or  protection  service 
with  police  as  a  kind  of  generalized  "ombudsman"  for  the  poor. 

A.  The  performance  of  traditional  or  customary  nonenf  or  cement  or  semi- 
enforcement  services. 

Interestingly  enough,  we  do  not  know  very  much  about  the  actual  pattern 
of  ser\-ices  the  police  do  provide.  Clearly,  however,  they  have  traditionally 
pro\ided  a  wide  variety  of  sendees  which  are  either  unrelated  to  enforcement 
or  only  tangentially  so.  One  recommendation  would  be  that  professionalizing 
departments  be  very  careful  about  reducing  these  services  in  order  to  con- 
centrate on  crime  control  per  se.  Even  today  in  highly  professional  depart- 
ments much  of  the  work  of  units  such  as  patrol  is  what  the  men  sometimes 
call  "Mickey  Mouse"  services,  e.g.,  cats  in  trees,  lonely  widows  with  vivid 
imaginations.  Police  operations  analysts  should  study  the  causes  and  conse- 
quences of  such  requests  for  service  with  an  eye  to  developing  a  more  positive 

B.  The  development  of  routinized  large-scale  services  of  a  supportive  or 
"helping"  nature  which  are  at  the  same  time  highly  visible. 

A  classic  example  here  is  ambulance  service.  It  would  be  nice  if  every 
American  community  had  a  really  efficient  ambulance  service  and  even  nicer 
if  the  police  could  provide  it.  The  intent  here  is  to  build  into  police  opera- 
tions on  a  routine  basis  some  of  these  helping  functions.  As  police  work  and 
other  social  services  are  presently  organized,  however,  this  may  be  difficult.  In 
many  areas,  e.g.,  counseling  of  new  migrants  or  helping  youth,  it  is  more 
sensible  for  the  police  to  work  in  a  multiagency  setting. 

C.  The  development  of  the  police  in  the  direction  of  a  more  generalized 
"public  safety"  or  protection  service,  with  police  as  a  kind  of  generalized 
"ombudsman"  for  the  poor. 

Recent  suggestions  for  changes  in  the  ser\'ice  "mix"  provided  by  the  police 
seem  to  indicate  directions  of  development  rather  different  from  those  indi- 
cated immediately  above.  The  President's  Commission  idea  of  the  Community 
Service  Agent  is  one  major  example.  Nowhere  have  these  newer  ideas  been 
formalized  fully,  so  it  is  necessary  to  react  in  a  rather  unsystematic  fashion. 
I  should  like  to  do  so  under  two  separate  headings:  the  role  of  the  police  as 
a  referral  source  in  the  solution  of  personal  and  family  problems,  and  the  role 
of  the  police  as  processers  of  complaints  involving  other  public  service  agencies. 

Before  proceeding  with  the  discussion  of  material  under  these  two  head- 
ings, it  is  helpful  to  back  up  a  bit  and  reconsider  another  of  the  social  changes 
mentioned  in  the  introduction  to  these  comments.  This  is  the  change  from 
traditional  community  politics  and  structure  to  ones  based  much  more  on  large 


formal  organizations.  These  organizations  are  the  characteristic  systems  of 
our  time,  so  to  speak,  and  two  areas  of  organizational  activity  are  particularly 
relevant  for  the  problem  of  police-community  relations  in  the  ghetto:  or- 
ganizations as  resources  for  the  solution  of  personal  and  family  problems,  and 
organizations  as  providers  of  physical  services  and  regulators  of  the  quality 
of  physical  ser\'ices. 

The  isolation  and  specialization  of  the  police  of  \\hich  we  spoke  earlier  has 
been  accompanied  by  the  development  of  an  elaborate  congeries  of  formal 
organizations  whose  services  are  relevant  to  ghetto  life.  The  broad  distinction 
between  those  focusing  on  personal-social  problem-solving  and  those  focusing 
on  regulation  and  the  provision  of  physical  services  is  very  rough,  but  useful, 
especially  since  many  of  the  former  are  private  whereas  the  latter  are  public. 
Moreover,  suggestions  for  change  in  police  practices  will  differ  for  the  two 

1.  Organizations  involved  in  the  solution  of  personal  and  family 

One  of  the  obvious  anomalies  in  the  organization  of  social  services  in 
American  cities  is  that  the  many  organizations  possessing  resources  for  the 
supportive  solution  of  personal  problems  have  ven'  limited  access  to 
the  population (s)  ^vith  the  problems,  Avhile  organizations  having  access  to 
these  populations  have  very  limited  resources  for  the  solution  of  the  prob- 
lems encountered.  The  police  are  of  course  preeminent  in  this  latter 

Another  important  consideration  here  is  the  fact  that  the  problem- 
solving  agencies  exist  in  such  multiplicity  and  confusion  that  even  where  a 
potential  client  wants  to  become  an  actual  one,  he  is  often  deterred  from 
doing  so.  This  problem  of  lack  of  access  is  especially  pronounced  among 
the  poor. 

One  obvious,  and  I  think  crucial,  suggestion  here,  is  for  the  police  to 
function  as  referral  sources  to  link  problems  with  resources.  Police  can  be 
trained,  I  believe,  to  make  rough  initial  diagnoses  of  many  problem  situa- 
tions and  make  reasonably  satisfactoiy  initial  referrals,  especially  if  some 
combined  referral  point  is  available.  The  police  are  obviously  not  the 
only  agency  ^vhose  referral  function  can  be  improved,  and  there  are  many 
programs  designed  specifically  to  improve  the  referral  process.  Our  con- 
centration here  is  on  the  police,  however. 

Systematic  involvement  of  the  police  in  the  referral  process  should  have 
several  main  features  and  could  conceivably  have  several  main  results. 
As  to  the  main  features,  the  following  seem  foremost : 

a.  The  referral  should  be  obligatory  on  the  agency  involved. 
The  agency  should  be  required  at  minimum  to  do  a  preliminary 
analysis  and  report  results  to  the  police. 


b.  The  referral  should  be  voluntaiy  on  the  person  (s)  involved,  al- 
though it  would  be  legitimate  for  the  police  to  use  infoimation  on  past 
refusal  or  unsatisfactory  relationship  with  the  social  agency  as  grounds 
to  arrest  in  the  next  instance  where  law  violation  is  involved,  e.g.,  re- 
peated domestic  disputes  with  threatened  or  actual  violence.  This 
procedure  is  of  course  much  like  that  followed  (ideally)  with  juveniles 
in  many  departments  and,  of  course,  raises  some  of  the  same  issues  of 

2.  Organizations  involved  in  the  provision  of  physical  and/or  regula- 
tory services. 

A  wide  variety  of  agencies  have  the  responsibility  for  the  provision  of 
general  physical  services  and/or  regulating  the  "physical"  conditions  of 
life  in  the  ghetto.  The  most  crucial  of  these  agencies  are  public,  e.g., 
housing  inspection  units,  street  and  sanitation  departments,  and  weights 
and  measures  inspection  units. 

Ghetto  residents  report  a  wide  variety  of  dissatisfactions  with  these 
agencies,  with  the  focus  perhaps  especially  on  housing  code  enforcement 
units.  One  of  the  reasons  for  the  dissatisfaction  is  that  the  poor  often  have 
no  eflfective  way  of  bringing  pressure  to  bear  on  these  agencies.  The  tra- 
ditional methods  of  party  political  activity  do  not  seem  effective.  The 
newer  methods  of  grass-roots  community  organization  seem  thus  far  to  be 
also  of  limited  effect. 

One  sensible  suggestion  here  is  to  make  the  police  the  generalized  repre- 
sentative of  the  ghetto  citizen  in  his  struggle  with  these  agencies.  The 
police  would  thus  receive  process  and  follow-up  complaints  involving  such 
agencies.  This  is  tantamount  to  making  the  police  the  Ombudsman  for 
the  poor.  This  is  in  many  w-ays  an  attractive  suggestion,  but  it  is  necessary 
to  warn  against  many  pitfalls. 

A  few  general  points  can  be  made.  First,  the  use  of  police  to  process  com- 
plaints could  easily  make  the  police  more  vulnerable  to  attack  and  even  more 
the  target  of  hostility.  There  is,  after  all,  no  real  assurance  that  police  in- 
volvement here  will  in  fact  improve  the  level  of  city  services  as  they  affect  the 
ghetto  poor.  Thus  the  police  could  be  held  responsible  for  a  wide  range  of 
service  "failures"  from  \\hich  they  are  at  least  dissociated  at  present. 

Second,  city  services  in  general  need  improvement  and  rationalization  and 
more  effective  programming,  especially  in  serving  Negro  lower-class  areas. 
The  required  changes  should  be  approached  directly  by  city  and  state  govern- 
ment. The  capacit)-  of  the  urban  bureaucracies  to  resist  and  undermine 
change  is  so  highly  developed  that  no  palliatives  in  the  way  of  involving  the 
police  should  be  provided  which  will  prevent  real  change. 

Third,  it  is  not  cleair  to  me  how  in  fact  the  police  would  be  able  to  "en- 
force" their  wishes  with  respect  to  citizen  complaints.   Would  this  not  deeply 

involve  the  police  in  the  bureaucratic  in-fighting  which  is  so  characteristic 
in  the  area? 

Finally,  I  should  confess  that  my  caution  here  is  partly  due  to  objections 
of  the  sort  raised  above,  but  also  partly  due  to  my  real  lack  of  knowledge  of 
current  practices  and  future  possibilities  in  this  sector  of  possible  police 

Implications  for  Police  Organization 

The  basic  suggestion  I  have  for  change  in  police  organization  follows 
closely  the  recommendations  of  the  President's  Commission  on  Law  Enforce- 
ment and  the  Administration  of  Justice.  The  basic  concept  is  that  of  the  Area 
Team  which  would  be  responsible  for  the  public  safety  and  order  and  most 
operations  in  a  delimited  area  of  the  so-called  ghetto. 

Teams  would  be  composed  mainly  of  detectives  supplemented  by  Youth 
Officers,  some  patrol  personnel,  community  relations  people,  etc.  The  basic 
operational  idea  is  to  reduce  the  over-reliance  on  patrol,  increase  the  refine- 
ment of  police  information-gathering  so  as  to  reduce  the  level  of  field  interro- 
gation, etc.,  and  to  create  more  of  a  sustained  but  less  abrasive  "presence"  of 
the  police. 

Internally  the  team  might  have  some  specialization,  e.g.,  between  burglary 
and  robbery  men,  but  this  should  not  be  overstressed.  The  functionally  spe- 
cialized divisions  within  detective  units  would  still  be  maintained  for  opera- 
tions elsewhere  and  for  dealing  with  particularly  "sticky"  cases. 

Ideally  this  sort  of  team  would  spend  much  more  time  within  ghetto  so- 
ciety than  do  patrol  people.  One  main  function  of  such  a  unit  is  coordinative, 
especially  in  the  flow  of  information  concerning  the  social  state  of  their  area. 
Perhaps  devices  such  as  frequent  conferences,  etc.,  would  not  only  generate 
better  information  flow  but  would  actually  see  that  some  of  it  was  used  in- 
stead of  bottled  up  in  "beat  books" ! 

This  concept  implies  somewhat  greater  decentralization  than  at  least  some 
departments  now  display.  Decentralization  is  an  increasingly  "good"  word  in 
police  circles.  It  is  important  therefore  to  recall  the  important  values  of 
centralization  alluded  to  earlier.  Centralization  has  many  values  in  efficiency 
and  control  and  especially  in  maintaining  the  sense  of  organizational  and 
occupational  separateness  and  morale  necessary  to  minimize  corruption,  bru- 
tality, and  other  forms  of  malpractice.  Many  modem  organizations  have  been 
faced  with  similar  problems  (e.g.,  the  military,  correctional  institutions,  mental 
hospitals)  and  they  have  at  least  made  attempts  to  develop  new  combinations 
of  central  control  coupled  with  decentralized  initiative  and  inter-rank 

Problems  of  control  are  central  and  complex.    These  team  concepts  pre- 

suppose  a  police  controllable  largely  through  training,  commitment  to  mission, 
and  involvement  in  local  teams  that  change  personnel  slowly  enough  to  main- 
tain an  esprit  de  corps.  Present  control  techniques  such  as  crime  clearance 
rates,  response  time  measures,  and  arrest  quotas  presuppose  low  commitment 
and  lack  of  subgroup  morale. 

Thus  along  with  such  a  system  would  have  to  come  quite  different  tech- 
niques of  supervision,  communication,  reporting,  and  control.  They  could  not 
all  be  detailed  here  even  if  known,  but  the  general  thrust  should  be  toward  a 
more  collaborative  effort  with  more  conferencing  and  more  involvement  of 
superiors  as  guides,  leaders,  and  consultants  rather  than  as  merely  order-givers. 

In  many  departments  there  would  be  serious  problems  of  implementation. 
Some  of  the  most  resistant  might  well  be  those  which  are  by  many  criteria  good 
ones.  Especially  in  those  where  centralized  professionalization  is  only  a  recent 
achievement,  suggestions  of  the  sort  presented  here  and  in  the  President's 
Commission  report  will  seem  like  a  return  to  the  "bad  old  days."  If  "Officer 
Flanagan"  means  "Mr.  Charlie"  to  many  Negroes,  it  means  "police  scandal" 
to  many  professional  police  administrators. 

One  last  suggestion  may  be  superfluous,  though  I  doubt  it.  It  has  to  do 
with  the  general  spirit  in  which  the  police  are  approached.  Police  work  is  an 
honorable  estate.    It's  practitioners  should  be  honorably  approached. 

The  most  sophisticated  national  survey  of  police-community  relations 
programs  and  problems  was  prepared  for  the  President's  Commission  on  Law 
Enforcement  and  Administration  of  Justice.  In  reviewing  a  number  of  pro- 
grams, the  survey  lists  weaknesses  that  affected  one  or  more  of  the  programs 
then  in  existence.  In  no  particular  order  these  are:  noncommitment  of  the 
top  police  command;  use  of  community  relations  units  solely  to  respond  to 
crises;  serious  budget  problems;  problems  of  organizational  placement  and 
lack  of  direct-line  involvement;  weaknesses  in  the  District  Committee  system; 
hasty  implementation  and  the  tendency  to  mechanically  copy  other  programs; 
stress  on  public  relations  or  selling  the  police  image:  failure  to  reach  the 
"grass  roots." 

Examples  of  Program  Pitfalls 

The  President's  Commission  Survey  cited  above  contains  fairly  detailed 
descriptions  of  several  community  relations  programs.  It  seemed  useful  to 
conclude  this  paper  by  describing  three  rather  ambitious  programs  differing 
in  nature  but  having  in  common  the  fact  that  they  all  have  experienced 

The  first  example  is  the  San  Francisco  Police-Community  Relations  Unit. 


It  is  described  both  by  the  President's  Commission  Survey  and  in  a  1968  publi- 
cation by  Jerome  H.  Skolnick.^ 

This  was  a  special  unit  which  was  organized  after  considerable  political 
pressure  in  the  city  and  which  enjoyed  the  full  support  of  the  Chief  of  Police. 
It  was,  however,  largely  opposed  by  the  rank-and-file  policemen.  In  the 
course  of  its  operations,  the  unit  became  isolated  from  the  rest  of  the  force 
and  its  work  was  poorly  integrated  with  the  rest  of  the  department's  activities. 

According  to  Skolnick,  the  unit  did,  however,  develop  good  working  rela- 
tions with  the  several  police-relevant  minorities.  Indeed,  this  developed  to 
the  point  where  Skolnick  describes  the  unit  as  becoming  a  kind  of  "ombuds- 
man" for  minorities.  In  the  process,  the  unit's  members  and  director  became 
unusually  sympathetic  to  the  needs  of  minorities  and  thus  found  itself  caught 
in  the  middle  in  police-minority  conflicts.  This  in-between  position  became 
particularly  clear  when  the  unit  began  receiving  —  and  attempting  to  act 
upon  —  complaints  against  the  police.  This,  of  course,  made  conflict  with 
"regular"  police  even  sharper. 

Correlative  with  these  developments,  the  local  (and  national)  political 
climates  changed  and  the  Chief  of  Police  found  himself  under  increasingly 
severe  pressure  to  change  the  unit's  operations.  The  pressure  came  from 
several  sources;  but  Skolnick  singles  out  a  police  unionization  movement  led 
by  an  extremely  conservative  union  leader  as  especially  significant.  The  unit 
was  ultimately  partly  reorganized  and  its  director  was  squeezed  out  of  the 

The  major  implications  of  this  description  seem  to  be  that  such  specialized 
units  should  not  be  left  in  such  an  organizationally  exposed  position;  that  a 
specialized  unit  can  become  a  focus  for  police  animosity  unless  great  efforts 
are  made  to  improve  community  relations  attitudes  generally;  that  strong 
political  support  is  needed  to  sustain  such  pioneering  efforts;  and,  finally, 
that  police-community  relations  should  7iot  take  on  the  complaint-processing 
function.  In  order  to  avoid  this  last  difficulty,  however,  it  will  be  necessary 
for  the  department  to  have  an  effective  complaint-handling  system. 

The  second  example  of  program  pitfalls  is  the  North  City  Congress  Police- 
Community  Relations  Program  of  North  Philadelphia.^  This  was  a  thirty- 
month  long  program.  Major  elements  were  district  committees,  police  institute 
sessions  involving  some  1,300  officers,  community  workshops  involving  some 
4,900  residents,  and  inter-group  sessions  attended  by  a  mixture  of  2,300  police 

'  The  President's  Commission  on  Law  Enforcement  and  Administration  of 
Justice,  A  National  Survey  of  Police  and  Community  Relations,  Field  Surveys  V 
(Washington,  D.  C:  U.S.  Government  Printing  Office,  1967);  J.  H.  Slotnick, 
The  Police  and  the  Urban  Ghetto.  Research  Contributions  of  the  American  Bar 
Association,  No.  3  (Chicago:   American  Bar  Association,  1968). 

'^  North  City  Congress  Police-Community  Relations  Program:  Final  Report 
(Philadelphia:   North  City  Congress,  1969). 


and  local  residents.  Other  activities  included  in-school  workshops  and  a  wide 
variety  of  other  meetings.  The  program  also  included  a  research  unit  which 
carried  out  an  evaluation  of  the  program. 

The  program  was  extremely  complex,  and  unlike  the  case  with  the  third 
example,  documentation  of  the  effort  and  outcome  is  great.  As  a  consequence, 
summary  of  the  program  is  far  more  difficult. 

Because  of  the  significance  of  the  program  and  the  pessimism  of  conclu- 
sions drawn,  the  final  report  of  the  program  should  be  read  by  anyone  setting 
out  on  the  police-community  relations  path.  The  report  concludes  that  the 
program  failed  and  that  it  did  so  because  the  mechanisms  used  —  based  on 
"community  organization"  theory  —  could  not  meaningfully  affect  the  power 
imbalance  that  produces  the  problem  of  police-community  relations  in  the 
first  place. 

Two  major  specific  areas  of  failure  are  identified.  The  community  com- 
mittees did  not  persist  generally  after  the  end  of  the  program.  Thus,  the  ef- 
fort to  create  a  permanent  structure  in  the  community  did  not  succeed.  More 
significantly,  however,  the  report  concludes  that  attempts  to  change  police 
attitudes  failed.  The  police  participants  did  not  seem  generally  to  value  the 
training.  This  was  especially  true  of  the  white  officers. 

Perhaps  the  most  general  conclusion  of  the  authors  of  the  report  is  the 

Correcting  the  police-community  power  imbalance  is  crucial  in  any  hopes  for  im- 
proved police-community  relations.  And  in  the  absence  of  fairly  strenuous  social 
change,  this  imbalance  cannot  be  corrected  without  the  allocation  of  some  authority 
over  police  action  to  the  community.  There  must  be  some  form  of  "community 
control"  over  Departmental  policy-making,  and  particularly  over  District  policy, 
procedures  and  personnel.^ 

The  conclusions  clearly  indicate  the  disillusionment  of  the  program  staff. 
They  also  indicate  the  shift  from  a  civil  rights  movement  orientation  to 
a  more  "militant"  one.  In  a  sense,  this  program  and  the  Washington,  D.  C, 
Pilot  Precinct  Project  which  will  be  discussed  next  indicate  different  periods 
in  the  history  of  local  politics  in  large-city  black  ghettos. 

The  conclusions  drawn  in  the  North  City  Congress  report  will  appeal  to 
readers  of  the  report  differently,  depending  on  their  ideological  bents.  Some 
program  features  are  open  to  criticism,  however,  even  from  the  more  routine 
point  of  view  of  the  mechanics  of  program  implementation. 

The  most  general  criticism  is  in  the  approach  to  the  police.    Through  no 

fault  of  the  program,  support  by  key  middle-level  command  was  lacking  even 

though  the  program  had  at  least  rhetorical   support  from   top   command. 

Moreover,  it  seems  from  the  report  that  program  staff  were  not  particularly 

'  Ibid.,  p.  86. 

knowledgeable  about  police  nor  were  they  likely  to  be  identifiable  as  sympa- 
thetic to  police  viewpoints. 

Ironically,  the  North  City  Congress  effort  seems  to  have  been  formed  by 
a  rather  more  "radical"  viewpoint  and  to  have  ended  with  a  more  "conserva- 
tive" result  as  compared  with  the  next  example  which  seems  to  have  had 
somewhat  more  of  a  "police-oriented"  viewpoint  but,  thus  far  at  least,  seems 
to  have  set  in  motion  more  "radical"  change. 

The  third  example  is  the  Pilot  Precinct  Project  instituted  in  Washington, 
D.  C,  with  an  eighteen-month  grant  from  the  Office  of  Economic 

The  project  had  several  major  components.  The  most  innovative  was  the 
idea  of  a  Precinct  Citizens'  Board.  The  political  thrust  of  this  part  of  the 
proposal  is  indicated  by  the  following:  (a)  the  board  would  be  representative 
of  all  the  people  of  the  precinct;  (b)  the  board  would  not  be  handpicked  by 
the  "establishment"  but  would  be  formed  by  methods  suggested  by  residents 
of  the  precinct,  i.e.,  through  a  general  election  or  whatever  means  would 
guarantee  a  really  representative  board;  (c)  the  success  of  the  project  would 
be  absolutely  dependent  on  the  development  of  a  good  relationship  between 
the  board,  the  Metropolitan  Police  Department,  and  the  staff  of  the  Pilot 
Precinct  Project.*  One  of  the  criteria  of  success  of  the  project  was  stated  to 
be  whether  board  members  felt  they  had  real  influence.  The  Citizens'  Board 
would  "carry  the  weight  of  organized,  representative  public  opinion." 

This  conception  of  the  Precinct  Citizens'  Board  then  is  quite  different 
from  the  neighborhood  committees  described  in  the  North  City  Congress  pro- 
gram. Indeed,  it  seems  a  step  in  the  direction  of  "community  power"  as 
recommended  in  the  final  report  of  that  project.  The  dilemmas  of  "reformist" 
devolution  of  power  are  illustrated,  however,  by  the  statement  that  the 
Precinct  Citizens'  Board  would  not  have  direct  control  over  police  operations. 
Its  members  would  not  be  able  to  give  orders  to  police  officers,  and  it  would 
not  have  the  power  to  hire  and  fire  policemen.^ 

Other  aspects  of  the  program  included  the  idea  of  Satellite  Service  Cen- 
ters - —  the  number,  nature,  function,  location,  and  staffing  of  which  would 
be  determined  by  the  Precinct  Citizens'  Board.  Funds  were  available,  in  addi- 
tion, for  other  programs  in  the  precinct,  the  nature  of  which  was  to  be  deter- 
mined by  the  board. 

A  police  training  program  was  included  and  was  to  have  been  influenced 
by  board  decisions.  It  was  conceived,  however,  as  more  directly  determined 
by  the  project  staff  and,  indeed,  was  conducted  systematically  even  though 
after  almost  nine  months  no  Precinct  Citizens'  Board  was  in  existence. 

*The  Pilot  Precinct  Project   (Washington,  D.G.:    Corporation  Counsel,  Govern- 
ment of  the  District  of  Columbia,  no  date). 

°  The  President's  Commission,  op.  cit.;  Slotnick,  op.  cit. 

The  Precinct  Citizens'  Board  idea  was  central  to  the  whole  program  con- 
cept, and  its  fate  has  so  far  been  central  to  project  histor}-.  Description  of 
outcome  thus  far  will  focus  on  the  process  of  creating  the  board.  Training, 
with  one  interruption  of  four  months,  has  proceeded  and  some  impressionistic 
assessment  of  "success"  can  be  made. 

The  history  of  the  project  to  date  can  be  largely  written  as  the  history  of 
one  example  of  the  peculiar  politics  of  police-community  relations  projects 
in  a  large  urban  black  population.  The  history  available  here  can  only  be 
sketchy.  A  full  histor>'  of  the  project  is  being  prepared  and  should  be  ex- 
tremely valuable.  Much  of  the  information  used  here  comes  from  an  interview 
with  a  former  participant  and  should  be  regarded  as  quite  provisional. 

The  first  step  in  project  implementation  was  selection  of  the  precinct.  The 
aim  was  a  precinct  selected  by  citizens  rather  than  the  "power  structure."  A 
Precinct  Selection  Committee  of  thirty-nine  members  was  appointed  by  the 
mayor  to  make  the  choice.  Five  members  resigned  soon  after  committee 
formation  and  were  replaced  by  six  youths  drawTi  from  the  eligible  precincts. 

Precinct  selection  criteria  included  many  factors :  crime  rates,  measures  of 
povert)',  size  of  youth  population,  complaints  against  police,  receptivity  of 
police  to  the  project,  and  receptivity  of  citizens. 

These  last  two  criteria  indicate  the  uniqueness  of  this  project  —  par- 
ticularly the  criterion  of  receptivity  of  the  police.  This  indicates  a  quite  dif- 
ferent approach  to  police  than  seems  implicit  in  the  North  City  Congress 
project.  Police  receptivity  was  measured  by  a  direct  vote  of  police  officers  on 
whether  they  wanted  the  project  in  their  precinct.  Citizen  receptivity  was 
assessed  by  a  series  of  hearings  at  which  those  present  voted.  In  all  six  precincts 
a  majority  voted  in  favor  of  the  project.  In  the  Thirteenth  Precinct  which  was 
finally  selected  by  the  committee,  only  two  people  voted  —  both  in  favor. 
The  rather  dry  language  of  one  document  indicates  something  of  the  future 
course  of  events.  "It  may  be  that  the  other  people  present  at  the  hearing 
\vere  afraid  to  vote  because  an  opponent  of  the  project  was  standing  by  the 
ballot  box  with  a  lighted  match  in  his  hand,  stating  in  strong  teiTns  his 
opinion  of  anyone  who  would  vote  for  a  project  like  this."^ 

After  precinct  selection,  the  next  steps  were  to  be  taken  by  the  project 
staff.  These  included  meetings  between  staff  and  resident  groups  and  an 
intensive  public  information  campaign.  This  phase  ^vas  to  have  concluded 
with  formation  of  a  Planning  Committee  which  would  come  "from  all  the 
groups  and  neighborhoods"  of  the  precinct.  This  Planning  Committee,  in 
turn,  was  to  create  the  conditions  for  election  of  the  Precinct  Citizens'  Board. 

Approximately  nine  months  were  consumed  before  the  necessary  com- 
munity election  could  be  held.  Early  attempts  at  creating  a  working  coalition 
'^  Corporation  Counsel,  op.  cit.,  p.  5. 


of  community  groups  were  frustrated  by  the  opposition  of  what  are  described 
as  "militants."  An  earlier  coalition  of  older,  more  "middle-class"  blacks  was 
opposed  by  the  "militants"  who  were  supported  by  influential  leaders  of  the 
local  O.E.O.  agency,  civil  rights  groups,  and  others. 

Some  three  to  four  months  of  negotiation  followed,  during  which  the 
police  precincts  were  consolidated  into  districts  in  an  administrative  reorgani- 
zation. An  attempt  to  organize  an  election  was  unsuccessful  during  this  time 
because  the  project  stafT  was  accused  of  engineering  the  consolidation  to 
undermine  the  political  strength  of  the  opposition.  Another  attempt  to  hold 
an  election  came  to  naught  when  the  "militants"  threatened  to  prevent  an 
election  and  to  disrupt  planning  and  election  meetings. 

At  this  point  the  project  staff  suggested  proceeding  without  an  election, 
but  the  city  government  said  to  try  again.  In  this  next  try  the  Pilot  Precinct 
Project  StafT  undertook  to  see  that  meetings  would  not  be  "packed"  and  to 
guarantee  the  personal  safety  of  persons  attending  the  planning  meeting.  A 
planning  meeting  was  finally  held  at  which  police  were  present  to  verify  cre- 
dentials and  prevent  disorder.  At  that  meeting  some  twelve  of  the  approxi- 
mately seventy  present  attempted  to  disrupt  and  partially  did  so. 

Finally,  however,  the  "militants"  agreed  to  participate  in  election  planning 
and  an  election  date  was  set.  At  this  point  the  project  director  resigned,  thus 
removing  himself  as  an  election  issue.  The  election  was  held;  the  "militants" 
gained  control  of  the  Citizens'  Board  and  an  opponent  of  the  project  was 
elected  board  chairman. 

Despite  this  seeming  victory  for  the  "opposition,"  the  board  has  formulated 
what  has  been  described  as  a  good  proposal  for  continuation  of  the  project. 
The  project's  political  vicissitudes  continue,  however,  at  other  levels.  The 
Precinct  Citizens'  Board  is  now  fighting  for  itself  and  for  the  project  against 
a  Congressional  investigation.  Moreover,  the  funding  agency  has  renewed 
funding  for  only  thirty  days  pending  .  .  .  what?  The  city  government  backs 
the  project  completely. 

Meanwhile,  the  actual  training  sessions  involving  precinct  police  and  local 
citizens  were  undertaken.  Training  was  interrupted  in  April,  1969;  it  resumed 
in  September  of  1969,  and  continues  at  present.  To  date  approximately  375 
officers  and  citizens  have  participated.  Training  is  on  duty  time,  with  the 
project  paying  for  overtime  of  other  officers  to  maintain  coverage.  Training 
sessions  have  emphasized  role-playing,  small-group  discussion  and  confronta- 
tion involving  police,  and  "street  dudes"  and  "young  militant"  blacks. 

As  yet  there  is  no  formal  study  of  the  impact  of  the  training  or  other  parts 
of  the  program.  There  is  evidence,  however,  that  the  training  program  was 
ultimately  well  received  by  the  police.  When  the  director  resigned,  a  letter 
commending  him  is  reported  to  have  received  over  200  signatures- — before 
someone  tore  it  up!    Initial  reception  by  rank-and-file  officers  was  suspicious. 


and  training  sessions  uncovered  the  usual  resistances  though  they  proceeded 
fairly  smoothly.  Cooperation  by  middle-level  command  was  described  as  good, 
perhaps  due  to  the  fact  that  the  project  director  was  well  known  to  the 
lieutenants  and  sergeants,  having  spent  a  great  deal  of  time  on  the  streets  with 
them.  The  support  of  the  city  government  and  the  placement  of  key  project 
staff  as  employees  of  the  Department  of  Public  Safety  may  have  helped  here. 
In  addition  to  the  director,  other  stafT  members  had  had  experience  with 
police  (some  had  been  policemen)  and  have  been  described  as  critical  but 

Feedbacks  between  the  training  part  of  the  project  and  the  political 
process  involved  in  election  of  the  Precinct  Citizens'  Board  must  have  been 
complex,  but  only  two  have  been  described.  The  interruption  in  the  training 
previously  mentioned  was  caused  by  the  "disruption"  in  the  political  process. 
In  another  instance,  an  achievement  of  the  training  program  seems  to  have 
created  an  embarrassment  to  anti-project  forces  in  the  precinct. 

Members  of  the  Spanish-speaking  community  demanded  Spanish-speak- 
ing officers.  Some  150  officers  volunteered  for  an  intensive  six-week  language 
and  cultural  immersion  program  that  was  received  very  well  both  by  the  offi- 
cers and  by  the  Spanish-speaking  citizenry.  The  success  of  this  special  pro- 
gram seems  to  have  operated  to  demonstrate  the  good  faith  of  the  project  as 
well  as  its  ability  to  deliver  a  product  of  value.  As  a  consequence,  the  anti- 
project  black  leaders  were  confronted  with  demands  from  their  constitutents 
to  moderate  their  opposition. 

It  is  difficult  to  compare  the  Washington  and  North  City  projects,  par- 
ticularly since  the  Washington  project  is  still  going  on  and  information  is 
so  sketchy.   It  is  helpful  to  hazard  some  comparative  interpretation,  however. 

An  obvious  interpretation  would  be  that  the  North  City  project  had 
trouble  with  the  police  while  the  Washington,  D.  C,  project  had  trouble 
with  the  community.  This  would  be  rather  short-sighted.  The  "troubles" 
with  the  community  in  Washington,  D.  C,  may  represent  a  necessary  and 
constructive  political  process  of  creating  sufficient  local  awareness  and  political 
"texture"  that  a  meaningful  community  voice  could  be  developed.  Programs 
that  include  local  citizens'  bodies  and  do  not  expect  a  virulent  local  politics 
are  not  likely  to  succeed,  particularly  in  the  larger  cities.  From  this  point  of 
view  (and  from  a  great  distance),  the  "disruptive"  concerns  of  the  "mili- 
tants" and  the  seeming  short-sightedness  of  their  allies  may  take  on  a  different 
light.  The  business  of  politics  after  all  is  to  present  alternatives  and  to  create 
the  collective  vehicles  for  meaningful  participation  in  decision-making. 

It  seems  clear  that  the  Washington  project  dealt  with  the  police  in  a 
much  more  sophisticated  way.  This  stems  from  the  nature  of  the  project  staff 
as  previously  mentioned,  from  the  support  of  the  city  government,  and  from 

a  viewpoint  that  defined  individual  policemen  as  among  those  who  should 
have  a  voice  in  the  location  of  the  project. 

There  are  also  other  elements  that  seem  significant  about  the  Washington 
program.  Washington,  D.  C,  is  after  all  demographically  a  predominantly 
black  city  with  a  black  mayor.  Police-community  relations  politics  will  surely 
be  different  in  such  a  setting. 

Finally,  the  structure  of  the  program  in  Washington  seems  to  have  been 
sociologically  more  sophisticated.  The  selection  of  a  single  precinct  made 
a  more  manageable  unit.  As  the  final  report  of  the  North  City  Congress 
project  points  out.  North  Philadelphia  was  simply  too  large.  Moreover,  the 
mode  of  selecting  police  participants  from  different  districts  and  different  imits 
meant  that  there  was  little  sense  of  organizational  commonality  among  them. 

We  can  conclude  with  one  very  serious  problem  in  both  projects  —  the 
problem  of  short-term  grant  support.  The  threat  of  fund  withdrawal  or 
nonrenewal  hangs  over  these  programs  like  the  proverbial  sword  of  Damocles. 
This  is  hardly  the  appropriate  fiscal  basis  for  stable,  long-term  social  change. 



Part  I 

Two  years  beyond  the  city  riots  of  1967  and  the  report  about  them  by  the 
National  Advisory  Commission  on  Civil  Disorders,  the  effect  of  the  mass  media 
on  such  disorders  is  still  under  intense  debate.  There  is  no  great  risk  in  pre- 
dicting that  as  long  as  unrest  persists,  those  who  presume  to  "inform  and 
educate"  the  public  about  such  disorder  through  "fair  and  courageous  journal- 
ism" are  unlikely  to  win  popularity  prizes. 

The  terms  encased  in  quotation  marks  above  are  used  advisedly,  for  they 
are  borrowed  right  out  of  the  so-called  Kerner  Commission  Report  and  lie  at 
the  heart  of  the  two  major  criticisms  it  leveled  at  news  media  coverage  (par- 
ticularly television)  of  the  1967  urban  riots.  We  shall  deal  with  those  criticisms 
shortly,  but  it  should  first  be  acknowledged  and  understood  that  by  no  means 
all  of  the  public  accepts  the  Kerner  Commission's  underlying  presumption 
that  to  inform  and  educate  the  people  about  the  ills  of  society  are  proper 
missions  of  the  news  media.  To  inform,  yes,  but  to  educate  implies  something 
more.  And  while  the  modem  journalistic  fraternity  almost  unanimously  ac- 
cepts this  dual  notion  of  its  mission,  there  is  ample  evidence  that  large  seg- 
ments of  the  populace  not  only  reject  that  presumption,  but  resent  it.  Some, 
of  course,  do  not  even  wish  to  be  informed  of  unpleasantries. 

As  for  "fair  and  courageous  journalism,"  in  such  circumstances,  there 
obviously  is  no  such  thing  except  by  one's  own  definition.  A  society  that  has 
turned  a  condition  of  light  polarization  into  a  heated  cliche  of  politics  is 
hardly  in  a  mood  to  accept  any  individual  or  group  definition  of  those 
terms.  What  is  courageous  for  Senator  McGovern  is  clearly  unfair  on  Vice 
President  Agnew's  front  page  or  tube,  and  vice  versa.  One  can  magnify  that 
generalization  to  a  number  of  powers  when  applying  it  to  sensitive  racial 
matters  covered  by  the  Kerner  study's  Chapter  15,  which  deals  with  highly 
visible  news  media,  their  effect  on  the  riots,  and  what  they  ought  to  be  doing 
about  them. 

Well,  what  is  their  effect?  And  well,  what  ought  the  media  to  be  doing 
about  riots  and  other  civil  explosions? 

The  answer  to  the  first  of  these  questions  is  that  nobody  knows,  and  the 


answer  to  the  second  depends  upon  the  prejudices  of  the  respondent.    Take 
the  first : 

"The  question  is  far  reaching  and  a  sure  answer  is  beyond  the  range  of 
presently  available  scientific  techniques,"  said  the  Commission  at  the  outset  of 
Chapter  15.  "Our  conclusions  and  recommendations  are  based  upon  sub- 
jective as  well  as  objective  factors ;  interviews  as  well  as  statistics ;  isolated  ex- 
amples as  well  as  general  trends." 

Or,  if  you  prefer,  "Tonight  I've  raised  questions.  I've  made  no  attempt 
to  suggest  the  answers,"  said  Vice  President  Agnew  at  the  conclusion  of  his 
now-famous  Des  Moines  treatise  on  television  news.  "The  answers  must  come 
from  the  media  men." 

Those  media  men,  who  must  answer  the  second  question  —  How  do  you 
cover  riots  and  such?  - —  may  search  vainly  for  guidance  between  such  highly- 
charged  rhetorical  questions-suggesting-no-answers  as  this  one  from  the  Vice 
President : 

"How  many  marches  and  demonstrations  would  we  have  if  the  marchers 
did  not  know  that  the  ever-faithful  TV  cameras  would  be  there  to  record  their 
antics  for  the  next  news  show?"    (Emphasis  mine. ) 

And  conclusions  like  this  one  from  the  Commission : 

We  believe  it  would  be  imprudent  and  even  dangerous  to  downplay  coverage 
in  the  hope  that  censored  reporting  of  inflammatory  incidents  somehow  will 
diminish  violence. 

All  this  is  not  meant  to  provide  "cop-out"  or  apology  for  the  media,  whose 
sins  are  legion,  but  to  suggest  the  tormenting  ambivalences  that  beset  anyone 
—  inside  the  trade  or  out^ — who  attempts  to  recommend  a  firm  course  for 
newsmen  to  follow  in  the  performance  of  whatever  their  duty  might  be,  a 
certain  already-noted  ambivalence  surrounding  even  that. 

The  Kemer  Commission  understandably  got  caught  in  a  number  of  such 
internal  conflicts,  therefore,  and  this  greatly  reduced  the  value  of  its  sug- 
gestions. For  example,  having  judged  that  it  might  even  be  dangerous  to 
censor  reporting  of  inflammatory  incidents,  the  Commission  noted,  with 
obvious  approval,  that  participants  at  its  Poughkeepsie  conference  "admitted 
that  live  television  coverage  via  helicopter  of  the  1965  Watts  riot  had  been 
inflammatory,  and  network  news  executives  expressed  doubts  that  television 
would  ever  again  present  live  coverage  of  a  civil  disorder."  In  the  future,  it 
was  suggested,  they  would  view  and  edit  (not  censor?)  taped  or  filmed 
sequences  before  broadcasting  them.  Yet  it  was  the  editing  of  tape  that 
brought  such  criticisms  of  TV  coverage  of  the  Chicago  convention,  the  next 
mass  incident  of  civil  disorder  beyond  the  urban  riots  of  1967  and  those  that 
followed  Martin  Luther  King's  assassination  in  April,  1968. 


Vice  President  Agnew  said : 

Film  of  provocations  of  police  that  was  available  never  saw  the  light  of  day 
while  the  film  of  a  police  response  which  the  protesters  provoked  was  shown  to 
millions.  Another  network  showed  virtually  the  same  scene  of  violence  from  three 
separate  angles  without  making  clear  it  was  the  same  scene. 

Indeed,  the  entire  question  of  press-police  relations  provides  every  analyst 
of  civil  disorder  a  full  range  of  ambivalent  feelings.  The  Kerner  Commission 
again  was  no  exception  and  therefore  had  little  help  to  offer  the  media  in  this 
intensely  important  aspect  of  news  coverage.  One  reads  the  Kerner  Commis- 
sion Report  in  this  respect  with  mounting  frustration.  To  overdigest  it  perhaps 
does  the  Report  injustice,  but  the  overall  impression  is  this : 

First  it  suggests,  quite  correctly,  that  ghetto  residents  look  upon  the  police 
and  the  press  as  allies  who  work  together  toward  the  same  end,  adding  paren- 
thetically that  this  may  surprise  both  reporters  and  policemen.  Later  it  notes 
that  the  two  do  work  closely  together  and  for  obvious  media  reasons  (protec- 
tion). Then,  at  the  point  of  recommendations,  the  Report  concludes  that  "a 
recurrent  problem  in  the  coverage  of  last  summer's  disorders  was  friction  and 
lack  of  cooperation  between  police  officers  and  working  reporters"  and  sug- 
gests a  mutual  orientation  program  to  bring  them  together.  Meanwhile, 
although  "our  studies  suggest  that  reporters  are  already  too  closely  tied  to 
police  and  officials  as  news  sources  in  a  disorder,"  the  Commission  recom- 
mends an  official  information  center  to  be  located  at  police  headquarters  or 
city  hall  to  serve  both  police  and  newsmen.  The  rhetoric  used  to  reconcile 
all  this  on-again,  off -again  relationship  sounds  plausible  enough.  ("An  in- 
formation center  should  not  be  permitted  to  intensify  this  [police-press]  de- 
pendence.") But  what  it  all  boils  down  to  is  that  the  Commission  wants  the 
police  and  press  to  work  together,  but  not  too  closely;  be  antagonistic,  pre- 
sumably for  ghetto  benefit,  but  not  too  antagonistic;  and  centralize  informa- 
tion, but  not  centralize  it  too  much.  This  comes  back  to  the  traditional  love- 
hate  relationship  that  has  existed  forever. 

There  should  be  some  understanding,  therefore,  if  so  little  has  been  done 
in  implementing  these  rather  schizophrenic  recommendations.  Some  of  them 
have  been  tried.  Chicago,  I  believe,  was  credited  with  cooling  a  potential 
riot  by  close  informational  control  and  what  has  for  years  been  close  coopera- 
tion between  police  and  press.  But  those  past  relationships  did  not  hold  up, 
as  everyone  knows,  when  the  circumstances  of  the  disorder  were  altered  and 
the  protesters  were  angry  young  middle-class  whites  instead  of  ghetto  blacks. 
Every  newsman  of  my  acquaintance  who  participated  in  coverage  of  the  cele- 
brated Democratic  convention  there  last  year  considers  that  the  "police  riot," 
as  it  was  so  controversially  characterized  by  the  Walker  study,  was  in  consider- 
able measure  directed  against  the  media,  its  men,  and  their  most  devastating 
tool — the  camera. 


The  growing  militance  of  policemen,  and  the  dangerously  widening  rift 
between  them  and  the  media  is  everywhere  known.  In  Boston,  where  the 
Globe  has  editorialized  against  police  actions  on  occasion,  an  attempted  boy- 
cott was  mounted  last  summer.  Building  takeovers  and  mini-riots  at  Harvard 
and  MIT  have  driven  deeper  wedges  between  those  charged  with  maintaining 
order  and  those  who  report  the  maintenance  breakdowns.  The  younger  the 
reporter  assigned— and  how  else  does  one  plumb  the  feelings  of  youth?— the 
wider  the  rift  and  the  deeper  the  emotions.  That  same  divisiveness,  along 
generational  lines,  is  occurring  in  Chicago  as  elsewhere  in  the  metropolitan 
centers  of  the  nation.  It  is  worse,  I  judge,  on  the  coasts. 

This  particular  problem  might  well  be  unresponsive  to  any  suggestions  at 
this  juncture,  but  the  Kemer  Commission  recommendations  have  been  of 
little  or  no  value  and  will  not  be,  in  my  view,  in  so  long  as  have-cake-and- 
eat-it-too  solutions  are  pursued. 

Part  II 

The  Kemer  Commission,  following  its  exhaustive  study  of  the  urban  riots 
of  1967,  came  to  three  conclusions  with  respect  to  the  media's  role: 

First,  .  .  .  despite  incidents  of  sensationalism,  inaccuracies,  and  distortions,  news- 
papers, radio  and  television,  on  the  whole,  made  a  real  effort  to  give  a  balanced, 
factual  account  of  the  1967  disorders. 

Second,  despite  this  effort,  the  portrayal  of  the  violence  that  occurred  last  sum- 
mer failed  to  reflect  accurately  its  scale  and  character.  The  overall  effect  was,  we 
believe,  an  exaggeration  of  both  mood  and  event. 

Third,  and  ultimately  most  important,  we  believe  that  the  media  have  thus  far 
failed  to  report  adequately  on  the  causes  and  consequences  of  civil  disorders  and 
the  underlying  problems  of  race  relations. 

Out  of  these  three  general  conclusions,  with  which  few  in  the  media 
would  quarrel,  flowed  the  specific  criticisms  and  recommendations  the  Com- 
mission made.  How  many  of  these  specifics  have  the  media  accepted  and 
how  many  of  its  recommendations  are  being  implemented? 

In  the  first  instance.  Conclusion  No.  1  above  is  hardly  a  criticism;  in  fact, 
it  is  almost  the  highest  compliment  that  can  be  paid  a  professional  in  the 
business  of  gathering  and  reporting  news  —  that  he  "made  a  real  effort  to 
give  a  balanced,  factual  account.  .  .  ."  Nevertheless,  the  industry  has  moved 
through  a  wide  range  of  activities  and  techniques  designed  to  minimize  if  not 
eliminate  admitted  incidents  of  "sensationalism,  inaccuracies  and  distortions" 
noted  by  the  Commission.  It  is  encouraging,  to  begin  with,  to  recognize  that 
many  of  these  isolated  incidents  came  to  the  attention  of  the  Commission 
through  the  media,  some  as  a  result  of  self-policing  and  some  from  cases  of 
one  media  reporting  on  another.  This  practice  has  continued.  A  Washington 
Post  reporter,  for  example,  eyewitnessed  and  fully  reported  the  incredible  be- 

havior  of  a  TV  cameraman  in  coaching  a  black  to  toss  a  rock  and  otherwise 
stunt  for  his  lenses. 

Riot  conditions,  it  should  be  understood,  do  not  offer  ideal  conditions 
for  establishing  fact.  The  event  itself  is  hardly  without  sensation;  and  re- 
porting a  riot,  like  reporting  a  war,  resembles  the  fable  of  the  blind  men 
describing  the  elephant.  "Inaccuracies,"  then,  are  often  differing  vantage 
points,  and  distortions  are  sometimes  related  to  the  varying  pulse  rates  of 
fearful  men  under  fire.  Large  team-reporting  methods,  experience,  and  wiser 
editors  have  eaten  away  the  margin  of  error  since  the  first  riots  caught  all 
but  a  tiny  band  from  the  larger  news-gathering  establishments  flat-footed. 
Throughout  the  country,  even  in  small  and  medium-sized  cities  which  have 
encountered  racial  strife,  seminars  and  self-evaluating  media  groups  have  met 
with  public  officials  and  black  leaders,  militant  to  moderate,  in  an  eflfort  to 
review  coverage  errors  and  establish  communications.  My  impression  is  that 
this  has  not  happened  as  often  as  it  should  in  cities  which  have  somehow 
escaped  disorder. 

Some  of  these  cooperative  efforts,  however,  pre-dated  the  Kerner  Com- 
mission Report  by  a  couple  of  years.  In  Boston,  the  Community  Media 
Committee  dates  from  June,  1966,  when  Celtic  superstar  Bill  Russell,  pre- 
dicting "Boston  could  blow  up  this  summer,"  called  for  formation  of  the 
committee.  Publishers  and  editors  and  managing  editors  of  all  the  Boston 
newspapers  and  station  managers  and  news  directors  of  every  one  of  its  local 
TV  and  radio  stations  appeared  at  that  meeting,  and  all  have  since  partici- 
pated in  a  permanent  program.  About  40  from  the  media  and  some  20  from 
the  black  community  attended  that  first  meeting.  And  while  there  have  been 
breakdowns  from  time  to  time,  the  program  continues  in  seminars  and  work- 
shops, conferences,  and  plan  visitations  designed  to  familiarize  ghetto  dwellers 
with  the  inner  workings  of  the  media  (from  which  springs  much  misunder- 
standing) and  to  educate  the  media  in  the  inner  workings  of  ghetto  life 
(ditto) . 

Similar  efforts  in  many  other  cities,  such  as  South  Bend,  Indiana,  got 
underway  only  after  riots  occurred,  if  somewhat  before  the  Kerner  Com- 
mission Report  reached  print.  South  Bend  had  major  troubles,  lost  in  the 
overpowering  headlines  of  Detroit,  but  no  less  serious  for  it,  and  involving  the 
same  though  scaled-down  dynamics. 

It  is  difficult,  however,  to  evaluate  the  implementation  of  Kerner  Com- 
mission recommendations  on  how  to  improve  riot  coverage  so  as  to  avoid 
the  criticisms  of  its  second  conclusion,  e.g.,  that  media  coverage  inaccurately 
reflected  the  scale  and  character  of  the  riots  and  thus  produced  an  overall 
effect  that  was  "an  exaggeration  of  both  mood  and  event."  The  scale, 
character,  and  mood  of  riots  are  subjective  matters  at  best;  that  being  so, 
there  was  little  else  the  Commission  could  suggest  but  the  formulation  of 

guidelines  for  covering  such  disorders.  These  guidelines  presupposed  a  deeper, 
more  sophisticated  and  understanding  coverage  of  these  events  which  would 
result  in  better  evaluations  of  scope  and  scale  and  mood.  Police-press  relation- 
ships heretofore  discussed  also  were  established  in  this  connection. 

As  for  guidelines,  most  major  news  organizations  had  long  since  adopted 
general  guides  for  staffers,  as  the  Commission  noted ;  and  professional  organi- 
zations which  have  since  approached  or  discussed  the  subject  of  some  sort 
of  universal  standard  have  quickly  rejected  such  a  notion,  often  with  consider- 
able hostility.  Differing  news  organizations  with  widely  differing  problems 
have  preferred,  almost  without  exception,  to  work  out  their  own  specialized 
rules.  Unquestionably,  though,  the  riots  of  1967  and  the  Kerner  Report 
stimulated  many  smaller  news  organizations  which  had  not  given  the  matter 
much  thought  to  hold  staff  meetings  and  discussions  leading  to  riot-condition 

Presumably,  based  on  complaints  or  the  scarcity  of  such,  the  major  and 
metropolitan  news  organizations  learned  well  the  lessons  of  1967  even  before 
they  had  time  to  study  the  Kerner  Report  deeply.  The  Report  was  issued 
in  March,  1968;  the  ink  was  not  dry  when,  in  April,  the  Memphis  murder  of 
Martin  Luther  King  touched  off  the  greatest  wave  of  urban  riots  in  American 
history.  Perhaps  study  commissions  were  too  exhausted  or  too  limited  in 
resources  to  explore  media  coverage  of  eruptions  in  more  than  100  cities. 
Washington  and  Chicago  were  hardest  hit.  But  few  criticisms,  few  charges 
of  distortion  or  inaccuracy  or  sensationalism,  few  claims  of  exaggerated  mood 
or  scale  or  character  followed  the  King  riots.  No  one  so  much  as  suggested 
that  the  rioters  were  performing  their  antics  for  the  ever-faithful  TV  cameras; 
nor  that,  somehow,  were  the  latter  to  cap  their  lenses  and  leave,  the  former 
would  steal  along  home. 

Part  III 

Dr.  King's  assassination  made  the  Kerner  Commission  Report  a  best- 
seller. Coming  less  than  a  month  behind  the  Report's  issuance,  the  death 
of  the  martyred  disciple  of  nonviolence  touched  off,  besides  fresh  riots,  a 
great  deal  of  white  soul-searching.  The  media  weltered  in  guilt  along  with 
the  nation;  perhaps  it  gave  them  time  to  read  the  third  conclusion  of  the 
Kerner  Report: 

.  .  .  Ultimately  most  important,  we  believe  that  the  media  have  thus  far  failed 
to  report  adequately  on  the  causes  and  consequences  of  civil  disorders  and  the 
underlying  problems  of  race  relations. 

How  better  to  cover  a  riot  became,  for  a  season,  a  moot  point;  how  to 
avoid  one  far  more  vital.  The  recommendations  of  the  Kerner  group  in  this 
respect  were  without  question  the  best  formulated  ones,  the  most  constructive 
ones,  and  certainly  the  "most  important."   And  it  is  in  following  these  recom- 


mendations  that  the  media  have  done  the  best  job.    The  Commission  had 
said  of  them: 

They  have  not  communicated  to  the  majority  of  their  audience  —  which  is 
white  —  a  sense  of  the  degradation,  misery,  and  hopelessness  of  living  in  the  ghetto. 
They  have  not  communicated  to  whites  a  feeling  for  the  difficulties  and  frustrations 
of  being  a  Negro  in  the  United  States.  They  have  not  shown  understanding  or 
appreciation  of  —  and  thus  have  not  communicated  —  a  sense  of  Negro  culture, 
thought  or  history.  .  .  . 

Reports  on  ghetto  living  and  poverty  sprang  up  everywhere. 
The  Commission  continued: 

Far  too  often,  the  press  acts  and  talks  about  Negroes  as  if  Negroes  do  not  read 
newspapers  or  watch  television,  give  birth,  marry,  die,  and  go  to  PTA  meetings. 
Some  newspapers  and  stations  are  beginning  to  make  efTorts  to  fill  this  void,  but  they 
ha\e  still  a  long  way  to  go. 

An  honest  judgment  would  have  to  conclude,  two  years  later,  that  "they 
have  still  a  long  way  to  go,"  but  tremendous  progress  has  been  made  none- 
theless. The  summer  of  1968  saw  a  spate  of  media  treatments  of  black  history, 
black  culture,  biography,  art,  fashions,  etc.,  etc.  The  subjects  appeared  in 
special  newspaper  supplements,  special  TV  productions,  magazines  galore, 
on  radio,  billboards,  books.  Black  proliferated  in  the  entertainment  and  com- 
mercial faces  of  tube  and  slickprint  as  well  as  in  the  news.  And  while  the 
University  of  Illinois  scoured  the  country  for  qualified  blacks  for  a  "Project 
500,"  practically  every  northern  metropolitan  publisher  was  scouring  uni- 
versities for  black  summer  interns  and  black  journalists  who,  a  season  before, 
had  found  the  "pickin's"  as  scarce  as  the  publishers  now  found  them. 

There  are,  therefore,  two  separate  faces  to  the  Kemer  recommendations 
with  respect  to  blacks  in  the  media  —  reports  on  blacks  and  reports  hy 
blacks.  Recruiting  sufficient  manpower  to  do  the  latter  offers  more  hope  and 
is  the  area,  it  seems  to  me,  where  more  progress  is  being  made  and  even  more 
emphasis  needs  to  be  placed.  For  the  training  of  black  journalists  ultimately 
will  assure  adequate  and  reliable  reports  on  black  activities  which  have  been, 
and  continue  to  be,  in  short  supply.  And  in  this,  one  must  refer  primarily  to 
the  day-to-day  reports  having  to  do  with  Negroes  who  "give  birth,  marr)',  die 
and  go  to  PTA  meetings"  rather  than  with  either  the  flamboyant,  catch-up 
reporting  on  all  the  lapses  in  history,  art,  personalities,  and  so  on,  of  the  past 
200  years,  or  "the  degradation,  misery,  and  hopelessness  of  living  in  the 

It  is  entirely  possibly  that  there  has  been  too  much  of  the  latter,  indeed, 
despite  the  Commission's  feelings.  Poverty  and  the  reporting  on  same,  after 
all,  were  not  exactly  new  when  the  Kemer  Commission  was  formed,  and  any 
search  of  the  media  will  find  considerable  evidence  of  both  before  Michael 
Harrington's  Other  America  discovery.  It  is  a  myth  that  Harrington  also  dis- 
covered poverty. 


Moreover,  there  are  risks  involved  in  the  over-reporting  of  degrading 
matters.  One  of  the  more  important  of  these  risks  is  what  social  scientists 
Paul  Lazarsfeld  and  Robert  Merton  have  called  "narcotizing  dysfunction." 
That  is  the  process,  as  I  understand  it,  through  which  people  mistakenly  con- 
vince themselves  they  have  actually  done  something  about  social  ills  simply 
because  they've  read  so  much  about  them.  And  resentments  rise  inside  the 
privacy-invaded  ghetto  as  well  as  across  town  where  the  low-income  white 
struggles  to  make  ends  meet. 

To  say  the  least,  there  is  reason  to  suspect  that  a  young  black  journalist  is 
more  to  be  trusted  on  ghetto  affairs  than  affluent  white  reporters  with  college 
degrees  and  more  idealism  than  racial  "savvy."  That  type  of  journalist  is 
fast  on  the  way,  thanks  in  part  to  the  Kerner  Report. 

The  media  may  have  rejected  the  Commission's  suggestion  of  an  Institute 
of  Urban  Communications,  but  the  important  thing  is  it  did  not  reject  the 
primary  purposes.  Presumably,  it  felt  that  there  were  sufficient  professional 
agencies  and  organizations  already  (not  to  mention  journalism  schools)  to 
train,  recruit,  and  place  black  journalists;  to  conduct  research;  and  to  review 
media  performance  on  riots  and  racial  issues.  And  the  rationale  for  its  pro- 
posed urban  affairs  service,  something  of  a  news  service  specializing  in  urban 
reporting,  appeared  singularly  anemic. 

Indeed,  many  of  the  Institute's  proposed  functions  were  already  being 
provided  elsewhere  or  were  quickly  absorbed  by  long-existing  agencies.  In 
June,  the  New  York  Urban  Coalition  established  a  pilot  national  program  to 
help  members  of  minority  groups  find  editorial  jobs  in  the  communications 
industries.  The  plan,  called  the  Communications  Skill  Bank,  is  recruiting 
candidates  across  the  country  for  editorial  jobs  on  newspapers,  magazines, 
radio  and  television  stations,  and  in  advertising,  publishing,  and  public  rela- 
tions. The  Bank  serves  as  a  clearing  house  for  minority-group  members  look- 
ing for  such  positions,  providing  a  centralized  source  of  editorial  talent  among 
Negroes,  Puerto  Ricans,  and  other  members  of  minority  groups  to  the  media. 

Ford  Foundation  money  went  into  the  Washington  Journalism  Center, 
specifically  earmarked  for  training  blacks.  Thus,  of  the  20  young  Fellowship 
newsmen  enrolled  there  this  year,  exactly  10  are  black  and  so  is  the  new 
Associate  Director,  Clarence  Hunter.  Other  Ford  funds  went  to  Columbia 
University  for  a  summer  journalism  training  project  through  which  more 
mature  Negroes,  once  unable  to  pursue  reporting  careers,  could  be  retrained 
to  do  so.  Professor  Howard  ZifT,  of  the  University  of  Illinois,  was  among 
the  project  supervisors  last  summer.  Still  more  Ford  money  is  behind  the 
Urban  Affairs  reporting  center  at  Northwestern's  Medill  School  of  Journalism. 
The  Newspaper  Fund,  in  cooperation  with  local  newspapers  and  journal- 
ism departments,  sponsored  four  month-long  journalism  workshops  for  urban 
ghetto  youths  last  summer  at  Washington,  D.C.,  Detroit,  Athens,  Ohio,  and 
Plainfield,  New  Jersey.   In  May,  the  American  Newspaper  Publishers  Associa- 

tion  awarded  $15,075  in  grants-in-aid  to  29  college  students  under  its  Negro 
journalism  scholarship  fund.  In  November,  Sigma  Delta  Chi,  national  jour- 
nalistic society,  urged  continuation  of  this  program  and  its  extension  to 
Mexican-Americans,  Oriental-Americans,  American  Indians,  and  other  minor- 
ity groups.  Simultaneously,  it  adopted  a  resolution  calling  for  its  own  minority- 
group  training  program  in  addition  to  its  sponsorship  of  the  Washington 

This  is  only  a  fraction  of  the  programs,  should  one  count  the  scores  of 
intern  setups  operated  by  individual  newspapers,  television  stations,  magazines, 
and  publishing  houses.  (The  one  with  which  I  have  been  associated  at  the 
Boston  Globe  for  four  years  had  no  blacks  in  1966,  one  in  1967,  six  in  1968, 
and  eight  in  1969;  and  I  have  noted,  in  professional  journals,  similar  stepups 
in  other  programs).  The  black  news  committee  of  the  Associated  Press 
Managing  Editors  Association  is  pitching  a  training  program  to  the  lower 
levels  —  a  high  school  prep  affair. 

A  number  of  blacks  have  finally  cracked  into  the  heretofore  denied  circle 
of  news  executives;  and  the  American  Society  of  Newspaper  Editors,  this 
year,  had  its  first  black  member  of  the  board  of  directors. 

Perhaps  even  more  hopeful  is  a  discovery  the  Kemer  Commission  sug- 
gested: the  American  media  are  finding  the  black  potential  customer  as  his 
concentration  in  central  cities  grows.  Thus,  Tuesday,  a  black-owned 
and  edited  supplement  for  core  city  distribution  with  existing  metropolitan 
newspapers  grew  to  a  circulation  base  of  2,000,000  this  year.  In  Kansas  City, 
an  industrious  group  of  young  blacks  set  up  Black  Light,  Inc.,  an  all-black 
newspaper  feature  syndicate  distributing  ghetto-oriented  comics  and  humor. 

Recounted  in  such  fashion,  this  sounds  like  very  much;  in  the  context 
of  the  entire  media  picture  it  is  not  spectacular,  but  it  does  indicate  progress. 
There  is  considerable  apprehension  that  the  sudden  drive  sparked  by  Martin 
Luther  King's  death  and  the  riots  might  splutter  somewhat  in  the  absence  of 
crisis,  but  it  may  be  unfair  to  make  so  early  a  judgment.  My  own  personal 
impression  is  that,  while  the  media  serving  national  and  large  urban  centers 
have  moved  ahead  steadily  in  all  aspects  of  the  Kemer  recommendations, 
medium-sized  and  small  city  operations  have  done  rather  less  than  little. 
Illinois  has  quite  a  large  number  of  these  "middle-sized  daily"  cities,  and  in 
my  limited  contacts  with  them,  I  have  encountered  no  black  reporters  or 
editors.  Chicago,  of  the  large  metropolitan  centers,  also  seems  to  lag  behind 
other  comparable  markets.  But  it  must  be  acknowledged  that,  until  last  year, 
the  University  of  Illinois  was  hardly  in  a  position  to  supply  one  trained  black 
journalist,  had  one  of  our  own  state  customers  come  looking. 

The  university  journalism  program  lags  in  this  respect,  too,  because  it 
does  not  enroll  students  before  the  junior  year  and  the  first  500  freshmen  ar- 
rived last  year.  Wait  till  next  year. 




State  involvement  in  the  fate  of  urban  America  is  as  vital  as  the  involvement  of  the 
National  Government.  .  .  .  Should  the  States  fail  to  meet  this  challenge  (the  urban 
crisis),  should  they  fail  to  reassert  their  responsibility  and  maintain  their  pivotal 
position  in  the  partnership  triangle,  they  may  fatally  erode  federalism's  foundations.' 


The  general  lack  of  responsiveness  of  state  governments  to  the  growing 
crisis  in  their  cities  has  caused  considerable  concern  among  academicians, 
journalists,  and  some  public  officials.  The  situation  is  so  acute  that  presently 
a  big  city  mayor's  first  inclination  is  to  seek  help  from  Washington  rather 
than  from  his  state  government. 

The  increasing  number  of  direct  federal-city  relationships  provides  evi- 
dence that  the  national  government  is  perceived,  with  some  justification,  as 
being  more  attuned  than  state  governments  to  the  needs  of  urban  areas. 
On  the  other  hand,  broad  research  has  not  focused  on  the  deterioration  of 
state-city  relationships  or  state  "nonresponsiveness."  Essentially,  studies  have 
been  piecemeal  in  nature;  each  piece  has  added  to  an  increasingly  serious 
picture  of  the  legal  and  structural  apparatus  of  state  governmental  machinery 
as  more  of  a  liability  than  an  asset  in  solving  contemporary  urban  problems. 

This  paper  is  an  attempt  to  add  another  "piece"  to  the  picture.  Its  major 
focus  is  on  a  specification  of  the  impact  of  the  Kerner  Commission  Report 
on  the  Illinois  General  Assembly.  In  other  words,  it  is  an  attempt  to  deter- 
mine whether  the  legislature  in  Illinois  responded  to  the  findings  of  the 

It  is  particularly  appropriate  to  examine  what  happened  in  Illinois. 
Illinois  is  not  only  a  major  industrial  state  with  concomitant  racial  problems, 
but  it  is  also  the  home  state  of  the  chairman  of  the  National  Advisory  Com- 
mission on  Civil  Disorders.  The  governor  of  Illinois  plays  an  extremely  im- 
portant role  in  the  state's  legislative  process  through  his  budget  and  veto 
powers  and  his  role  as  chief  executive.    He  also  has  a  vital  part  to  play  in 

'Advisory  Commission  on  Intergovernmental  Relations,  Urban  America  and  the 
Federal  System   (Washington,  D.C.:  U.S.  Government  Printing  Office,   1969),  p.   105. 


regard  to  the  initiation  and  support  of  legislation.  The  legislative  output 
in  Illinois  can  be  analyzed  as  largely  the  result  of  a  matrix  of  relationships 
involving  the  governor,  the  executive  departments,  and  the  legislature. 

Illinois  is  the  fourth  largest  state  in  the  country  in  terms  of  population. 
It  contains  the  nation's  second  largest  city;  although  it  is  a  manufacturing 
and  industrial  center,  downstate  Illinois  has  some  of  the  richest  farm  land 
in  the  Midwest.  According  to  the  1960  census,  10.3  per  cent  of  the  state's 
citizens  are  nonwhite.  The  two  major  pockets  of  nonwhite  concentration  are 
in  Chicago  and  East  St.  Louis,  although  many  other  Illinois  cities  contain 
significant  Negro  communities.  In  fact,  Illinois  presents  good  evidence  that 
racial  conflict  is  not  necessarily  limited  to  major  urban  areas.  The  city  of 
Cairo  (population:  8,500)  has  experienced  some  of  the  most  violent  distur- 
bances in  this  country  in  the  last  year.  Illinois  has  had  its  share  of  racial 
trouble  (recently  and  historically)  ;  in  many  respects  the  state  is  a  microcosm 
of  the  social  and  economic  conditions  discussed  in  the  Kerner  Commission 

Before  analyzing  the  state's  response  to  the  findings  of  the  Kerner  Com- 
mission, it  is  necessary  to  point  out  that  the  Report  was  not  a  report  to  the 
Illinois  General  Assembly.  (Indeed  one  wonders  to  whom  the  report  was  di- 
rected.) This  adds  to  the  problem  of  interpretation.  Essentially  the  dilemma 
is  this:  what  references  to  state  governments  did  the  Commission  make  and, 
given  this,  what  response  could  reasonably  be  expected  from  a  state  legisla- 
ture? Intermixed  with  these  questions  is  the  definitional  problem  of  what 
constitutes  a  legislative  response  to  the  Report.  Finally,  to  what  extent  did 
the  Illinois  General  Assembly  react  to  the  findings  and  recommendations  of 
the  Report?    The  following  sections  address  themselves  to  these  questions. 

Part  I 

In  our  federal  system,  one  might  have  expected  that  all  levels  of  govern- 
ment would  be  prominently  mentioned  in  the  Report  as  necessary  agents  for 
broad  social  change.  In  point  of  fact,  however,  the  Commission  members 
(and  staff)  apparently  did  not  feel  that  state  governments  were  viable  instru- 
ments for  solving  racial  problems.  (One  is  again  reminded  that  the  chairman 
of  the  Commission  was  a  sitting  governor  of  a  highly  urbanized  state). 

The  text  of  the  Report  presents  some  interesting  omissions.  Included  in 
Part  III  ("What  Can  Be  Done"),  there  was  a  chapter  entitled  "The  Com- 
munity Response."  But  there  was  no  chapter  designated  "The  State  Response" 
or  "What  State  Governments  Can  Do."  Chapter  17  of  the  Report  is  devoted 
to  "Recommendations  for  National  Action."  Again,  there  was  no  comparable 
chapter  directed  to  the  states. 

An  Inventory  of  Commission  References  to  State  Governments 

The  Commission  lamented  the  lack  of  program  coordination  at  the  na- 
tional level  and  the  presence  of  parochialism  at  the  state  level  —  both  of  which 
add  up  to  a  kind  of  "nonpolicy"  for  race  problems. 

Instrumentalities  of  federal  and  state  governments  often  compound  .  .  .  (race) 
problems.  National  policy  expressed  through  a  very  large  number  of  grant  programs 
and  institutions  rarely  exhibits  a  coherent  and  consistent  perspective  when  viewed  at 
the  local  level.  State  efforts,  traditionally  focused  on  rural  areas,  often  fail  to  tie  in 
effectively  with  either  local  or  federal  programs  in  urban  areas.^ 

In  order  to  carry  out  some  of  its  recommendations,  the  Commission  noted 
that  city  governments  will  require  state  and  federal  support.  More  specifically, 
the  Commission  urged : 

In  the  face  of  the  bewildering  proliferation  of  both  community  demands  and  local, 
state,  and  federal  programs,  mayors  and  city  councils  need  to  create  new  mecha- 
nisms to  aid  in  decision-making,  program-planning,  and  coordination.  At  this  time, 
however,  no  assistance  is  available  to  develop  these  new  and  critically  necessary 
institutional  capabilities  or  to  support  the  required  research,  consultants,  staff,  or 
other  vital  components  of  administrative  or  legislative  competence. 
The  Commission  recommends,  therefore,  that  both  the  state  and  federal  govern- 
ments provide  financial  assistance  to  cities  for  these  purposes  as  a  regular  part  of 
all  urban  program  funding.' 

In  perhaps  its  strongest  statement,  the  Commission  took  cognizance  of 
the  important  part  state  government  must  play  in  assisting  the  urban  mayor 
in  his  thankless  job. 

.  .  .  (State  government)  must  equip  city  leadership  with  the  jurisdictional  tools  to 
deal  with  its  problems.  It  must  provide  a  fuller  measure  of  financial  and  other 
resources  to  urban  areas.  Most  importantly,  state  leadership  is  in  a  unique  position 
to  focus  the  interests  and  growing  resources,  political  as  well  as  financial,  of  the 
suburbs  on  the  physical,  social,  and  cultural  environment  of  the  central  cities.  The 
crisis  confronting  city  government  today  cannot  be  met  without  regional  cooperation. 
This  cooperation  can  take  many  forms  —  metropolitan  government,  regional  plan- 
ning, joint  endeavors.  It  must  be  a  principal  goal,  perhaps  the  overriding  concern, 
of  leadership  at  the  state  level  to  fashion  a  lasting  and  mutually  productive  rela- 
tionship between  city  and  suburban  areas.^ 

In  its  call  for  national  action  (Chapter  17),  the  Commission  made  scat- 
tered references  to  the  states  in  its  recommendations  on  employment,  educa- 
tion, and  welfare. 

Employment.  In  the  section  on  employment,  the  Commission  concerned 
itself  with  essentially  administrative  and  coordinative  activities  of  state  govern- 
ments.   The  Report  recommended: 

'Report  of  the  National  Advisory  Commission   on   Civil  Disorders    (New  York: 
Bantam  Books,  1968),  p.  283. 
'  Ibid.,  p.  293. 
*  Ibid.,  p.  299. 


Existing  programs  aimed  at  recruiting,  training,  and  job  development  should  be 
consolidated  according  to  the  function  they  serve  at  the  local,  state,  and  federal 
levels,  to  avoid  fragmentation  and  duplication.'^ 

The  Commission  also  urged  the  strengthening  of  federal,  state,  and  local 
efforts  to  ensure  equal  opportunity  in  emplo)TTient.  The  specifics  of  this 
recommendation  dealt  with  such  federal-level  laws  and  agencies  as  the  1964 
Civil  Rights  Act  and  the  Equal  Emplo\Tnent  Opportunity  Commission  (the 
federal  enforcement  agency  under  Title  VII  of  the  1964  Act) .  No  explicit 
recommendations  for  state  action  were  made. 

Welfare.  The  section  on  welfare  discusses  the  problems  associated  \vith 
the  welfare  system  in  general  and  the  ramifications  of  the  "Labyrinth"  of 
federal,  state,  and  local  legislation  in  particular.  Because  this  was  a  federal- 
level  commission  and  because  welfare  is  essentially  a  federal  function  (more 
than  90  per  cent  of  national  welfare  payments  are  made  through  programs 
that  are  partly  or  largely  federally  funded ) ,  this  section  generally  calls  for 
Congressional  action.  Scattered  throughout  these  pages,  however,  are  some 
explicit  indictments  of  existing  state  regulations  (e.g.,  the  "Man-in-the- 
House"  rule,  insensitive  administration  by  some  welfare  workers,  residency 
requirements,  etc.).  Also  a  recognition  of  the  constraints  on  the  states'  fiscal 
capacities  led  the  Commission  to  recommend  far  greater  federal  involvement. 
A  fuller  discussion  of  the  welfare  recommendations  of  the  Commission  and 
its  applicability  to  Illinois  is  presented  in  Professor  Taber's  paper. 

Education.  The  most  direct  statement  calling  for  state  action  is  con- 
tained in  the  Commission's  section  on  education.  This  is  not  surprising,  since 
education  is  still  primarily  a  state  and  local  function.  The  present  system  of 
funding  in  most  states  came  in  for  the  greatest  criticism  from  the  members  of 
the  Commission.  In  general,  state  aid  fomiulas  which  were  designed  in  an- 
other era  no^v  tend  to  "reinforce  existing  inequities."  Specifically,  the  Com- 
mission recommended : 

.  .  .  that  every  state  reexamine  its  present  method  of  allocating  funds  to  local  school 
districts,  not  merely  to  provide  equal  funds  for  all  political  subdivisions  on  a  per- 
pupil  basis,  but  to  assure  more  per-student  aid  to  districts  having  a  high  proportion 
of  disadvantaged  students.  Only  if  equalization  formulas  reflect  the  need  to  spend 
larger  amounts  per  pupil  in  schools  predominately  populated  by  disadvantaged  stu- 
dents will  state  aid  be  allocated  on  an  equitable  basis.^ 

The  Kerner  Commission  also  addressed  itself  to  the  role  of  the  state  in 
fostering  integration  in  the  educational  system.    The  Report  states: 

...  the  states  and,  in  particular,  the  state  education  agencies,  have  a  key  role  to 
play  in  accomplishing  school  integration.  The  states  are  in  a  unique  position  to 
bring  about  urban-suburban  cooperation  and  metropolitan  planning.  We  urge  that 
the  efforts  of  state  educational  agencies  in  this  area  be  gi\en  clear  direction  through 

'Ibid.,  p.  415. 

'  Ibid.,  pp.  455-56. 

adoption  of  state-vvdde,  long-term  integration  plans  and  intensified  through  active 
promotion  of  such  plans.' 

Two  other  references  to  state  governments  complete  the  inventory.  In 
Chapter  14,  the  Commission  concerned  itself  with  the  problem  of  the  avail- 
ability of  property  insurance  in  the  inner-city.    It  urged : 

...  the  insurance  industry  to  take  the  lead  in  establishing  voluntary  plans  in  all 
states  to  assure  all  property  owners  fair  access  to  property  insurance.  We  look  to  the 
states  to  cooperate  with  the  industry  in  establishing  these  plans;  and  to  supplement 
the  plans,  to  whatever  extent  may  be  necessary,  by  organizing  insurance  pools  and 
taking  other  steps  to  facilitate  the  insuring  of  urban  core  properties.* 

Finally,  in  its  supplementary  chapter  on  the  "Control  of  Disorder"  (Part 
IV),  one  section  is  devoted  to  "State  Response  to  Civil  Disorders."  The  Com- 
mission dismissed  the  disorder-control  effectiveness  of  state  police  forces  be- 
cause they  are  undermanned  and  undertrained  in  riot-control  tactics.  Much 
greater  emphasis  was  given  to  the  National  Guard.  The  Commission  noted 
that,  although  the  performance  of  the  Guard  in  Newark  and  Detroit  left 
something  to  be  desired,  it  remains  "the  only  organization  with  sufficient  man- 
power and  appropriate  organization  and  equipment  which  can  materially 
assist  local  police  departments  in  riot  control  operations."  The  Commission 
recommended  that  the  Guard  be  given  increased  riot-control  training;  that 
a  review  of  the  standards  for  Guard  officers  be  implemented;  and  that  the 
number  of  blacks  in  the  Guard  be  substantially  increased.  (In  the  introduc- 
tion to  the  paperback  version  of  the  Report,  Tom  Wicker  notes  that  integra- 
tion of  the  Illinois  Guard  made  substantial  progress  during  Governor  Kerner's 

Because  of  the  dual  nature  of  the  Guard,  jurisdictional  lines  of  authority 
are  sometimes  blurred.  Suffice  it  to  say  that  the  states,  through  their  gover- 
nors, have  some  control  over  the  Guard  (unless  it  is  called  into  federal  ser- 
vice) .  Implementation  of  the  Commission's  recommendations  can  be  carried 
out,  to  a  certain  extent,  by  state  government. 

What  Could  Be  Expected  from  the  States? 

Given  the  fact  that  the  Kerner  Commission  Report  was  not  a  report  to 
the  General  Assembly  and  that  it  made  very  few  direct  appeals  to  states  for 
affirmative  action,  what  could  one  reasonably  expect  from  a  state  government 
in  response  to  the  release  of  the  Report? 

The  answer  to  this  question  probably  reflects  one's  normative  judgment. 
Yet,  the  general  thrust  of  the  Commission's  Report  seems  to  transcend  all 
levels  of  our  federal  system.  In  other  words,  despite  some  technical  jurisdic- 
tional constraints,  the  content  of  the  Report  was  of  such  dimension  that  all 
levels  of  government  could  be  expected  to  respond.    This,  then,  is  the  major 

'  Ibid.,  p.  456. 
'/6zW.,  p.  361. 

underlying  assumption  of  this  paper;  but  it  is  an  assumption  based  on  some 
rather  sound  arguments. 

First,  as  the  Report  ably  documents,  certain  groups  in  contemporary 
society  are  questioning  the  very  legitimacy  of  government.  A  lack  of  re- 
sponsiveness to  social  and  economic  problems  pervades  federal,  state,  and 
local  government.  One  is  hard  put  to  argue  that  responsibility  for  attacking 
racial  discrimination  (and  its  ramifications)  in  this  country  is  solely  within 
the  domain  of  the  federal  government. 

Similarly,  the  language  of  the  Commission's  Report  does  not  absolve  the 
states  from  responsibility  for  what  happened  in  1967  nor  does  it  preclude 
them  from  taking  action  on  its  recommendations.  To  be  sure,  some  of  the 
Commission's  recommendations  Avere  so  vast  in  scope  that  priman'  responsi- 
bility must  fall  on  the  government  with  the  broadest  fiscal  base  and  legal 
authority.  Funding  for  the  welfare  system  would  apply  in  this  regard.  Yet, 
even  here,  the  states  could  do  a  great  deal  to  clear  up  jurisdictional  inequities 
and  administrative  insensitivities. 

The  precise  role  of  state  government  in  the  construction  of  low-income 
housing  was  never  mentioned  in  the  Report.  But,  as  Professor  Murray  points 
out  in  his  paper,  there  is  a  vacuum  of  action  available  to  the  states  to  help 
fund  construction  in  their  own  area.  Unfortunately,  despite  some  minimal 
activity  in  this  regard,  the  results  of  state  action  have  been  less  than  im- 

These  are  but  two  of  many  possible  examples  in  the  Commission's  Report 
in  which  state  governments  could  play  a  more  active  and  responsive  role  in 
the  solution  of  racial  problems.  Indeed,  in  the  true  spirit  of  "creative  fed- 
eralism," such  action  is  not  only  proper  but  imperative. 

Finally,  the  Commission  devoted  a  considerable  number  of  pages  to  de- 
veloping a  matrix  of  strategies  and  programs  for  local  units  of  government. 
But  the  important  legal  relationship  between  states  and  their  local  govern- 
ments was  virtually  ignored.  Local  governments  are  creatures  of  state  gov- 
ernments ;  they  owe  their  existence  to  state  legislatures  or  to  state  constitutions. 
Autonomy  to  act  on  the  local  level  varies  from  state  to  state ;  so-called  "home- 
rule"  states  tend  to  give  their  local  governments  somewhat  greater  jurisdic- 
tional freedom  and,  in  a  few  states,  local  units  have  some  taxing  powers. 
However,  most  states  (including  Illinois)  operate  under  "Dillon's  Rule"  — 
the  legal  principle  ^vhich  holds  that  a  local  government  can  exercise  only  those 
poAvers  expressly  granted  or  necessarily  implied  in  its  charter.  Any  reasonable 
doubt  about  whether  a  local  power  exists  is  construed  for  the  state  and  against 
the  local  unit.  For  a  city  to  take  action,  therefore,  there  must  be  an  existing 
state  statute  specifically  authorizing  such  action  or  the  city-fathers  must  go 
to  the  state  legislature  and  ask  for  passage  of  an  appropriate  bill. 

In   addition   to   jurisdictional   restrictions,   most   local   governments   face 


severe  fiscal  limitations.  Property  tax,  the  main  source  of  revenue  for  local 
governments,  is  characterized  by  inconsistent  (and,  on  occasion,  blatantly  un- 
fair and  regressive)  assessment  and  collection  procedures.  The  revenue  base 
for  many  local  governments  is  simply  not  broad  enough  to  provide  sufficient 
funding  for  "social  change"  programs.  There  is  increased  recognition  on  the 
part  of  many  students  of  state  and  local  government  that  the  states  must  be 
prepared  to  assume  greater  functional  and  fiscal  responsibilities  in  their  urban 

The  Commission's  recommendations  for  local  community  programs  and 
reform  must  be  considered  against  this  background  of  legal  and  fiscal  limita- 
tions. The  evidence  seems  to  be  clear:  state  governments  must  become  deeply 
involved  in  solving  the  problems  created  by  "white  racism." 

Part  III 

Working  under  the  assumption  that  the  Illinois  legislature  should  have 
responded  (in  some  fashion)  to  the  Kerner  Commission  Report,  some  inputs 
and  outputs  of  the  legislative  process  were  analyzed  to  see  if,  in  fact,  such 
response  was  forthcoming.  Essentially,  inputs  are  in  the  form  of  gubernatorial 
addresses  and  special  messages,  and  activities  of  certain  nonlegislative  groups 
\vho  may  have  been  responding  to  the  Commission's  Report.  Outputs  are 
the  bills  introduced  and  killed  or  passed  in  the  legislative  sessions  following 
the  release  of  the  Commission's  Report.  As  was  noted  previously,  it  is  difficult 
to  detennine  precisely  what  constitutes  a  response  to  the  Report.  For  purposes 
of  this  analysis,  any  message  from  the  governor,  organizational  activity,  or 
legislative  proposal  which  bears  a  close  relationship  to  the  racial  conflict 
described  or  recommendations  for  action  urged  by  the  Commission  are  con- 
sidered a  response  of  some  nature. 

The  analysis  is  focused  primarily  on  those  activities  occurring  after  the 
release  of  the  Report  (March  2,  1968).  The  timetable  listed  below  begins 
more  than  two  years  earlier  than  that  because  the  possible  relationship  between 
the  Kerner  Commission  and  the  Illinois  legislature  cannot  be  considered  an 
isolated  one.  Events  help  shape  the  lives  and  behavior  of  men;  but  events 
have  relationships.  The  following  list  is  not  exclusive  —  only  those  occur- 
rences which  seem  to  place  the  Kerner  Commission  Report  and  the  operation 
of   Illinois   government   in   historical   perspective    are   noted. 

A  Timetable  of  Events 

January-  7,  1966  — Dr.  Martin  Luther  King  launched  SCLC's  "first  sustained 
Northern  movement"  in  Chicago.  Demanded  an  end  to  discrimination 
in  jobs,  housing,  and  schools. 

June/July,  1966  —  Civil  disturbances  in  Puerto  Rican  and  Negro  communities 


in  Chicago.   Two  people  killed  and  hundreds  arrested.    Governor  Kemer 

sent  in  National  Guard  to  quell  the  violence. 
August,   1966  —  Fourteen  persons  injured  and  eighty  arrested  in  wake   of 

racial  trouble  in  Waukegan,  Illinois. 
September,    1966- — Civil  rights  march  into  Cicero,   Illinois,  with  resulting 

injuries  and   arrests.     Governor   Kerner   sent   in   2,000   National   Guard 

January  4,  1967  —  Govei-nor  Kerner  addressed  the  opening  of  the  75th  Gen- 
eral Assembly  (this  legislature  had  just  been  reapportioned  on  a  "one-man, 

one-vote"   basis). 
May/ July /August/September/November,    1967  —  Scattered   racial   incidents 

with  var)ing  degrees  of  violence  in  Chicago,  Aurora,  Maywood,  Cairo, 

Waukegan,  Evanston,  Peoria,  Rockford,  Elgin,  and  Madison,  Illinois. 
June  30,  1967  —  Adjournment  of  the  75th  General  Assembly  to  a  day  certain, 

beginning  a  practice  of  holding  off-year  sessions. 
July  28,  1967  • — •  President  Johnson  established  National  Advisory  Commission 

on  Civil  Disorders.   Governor  Kemer  of  Illinois  was  appointed  chairman, 
March  2,  1968  —  Kerner  Commission  Report  released. 
March  4,    1968  —  The   75th  General  Assembly  reconvened   for  a  one-day 

April  4,    1968  —  Dr.   Martin  Luther  King   assassinated   in   Memphis. 
April  5-8,  1968  —  Rioting  in  Chicago  as  aftermath  of  Dr.  King's  assassination. 
May  21,   1968  —  Governor  Kemer  stepped  down  to  become  judge  of  U.S. 

Court  of  Appeals  for  the  7th  Circuit.    Lt.  Governor  Samuel  Shapiro  be- 
came Governor  of  Illinois. 
July  15-July  25,   1968  —  The  75th  General  Assembly  reconvened  for  short 

July  15,  1968  —  Governor  Shapiro  addressed  joint  session  of  75th  General 

January  8,  1969  —  Opening  session  of  76th  General  Assembly.   Gov.  Shapiro's 

message  to  joint  session  on  completion  of  his  term. 
January  13,  1969  —  Gov.  Ogilvie's  inauguration  and  address  to  76th  General 

March/April/May,  1969  —  Continued  racial  violence  in  Cairo,  Illinois. 
May  14-15,  1969  —  Rev.  Jesse  Jackson,  head  of  Operation  Breadbasket,  led 

delegation  to  Springfield  to  protest  proposed  welfare  cuts. 
June  19,  1969  —  Gov.  Ogilvie  sent  seventy  state  troopers  to  Cairo,  Illinois, 

after  four  nights  of  sniping  and  arson. 
June  30,   1969  —  The  76th  General  Assembly  adjourned  to  a  day  certain. 


July  16-22,  1969  —  Series  of  sit-ins  in  front  of  Governor  Ogilvie's  office  staged 
by  the  United  Front  of  Cairo  to  demand  that  the  Governor  declare  Cairo 
a  disaster  area  and  grant  massive  state  aid.  Approximately  seventy  per- 
sons eventually  arrested. 

October  14-23,  1969—  Short  session  of  the  76th  General  Assembly. 

After  the  Report:    Governors  and  Legislatures 

The  timetable  points  out  the  following  pertinent  facts:  (1)  Illinois  has 
had  three  governors  since  the  release  of  the  Kerner  Commission  Report;  (2) 
the  75th  Illinois  General  Assembly  held  two  short  "ofT-year"  sessions  after  the 
release  of  the  Report  and  the  76th  General  Assembly  held  a  normal  January 
to  June  session  plus  a  short  October  meeting;  (3)  the  recent  history  of  the 
state  (before  and  after  the  Report)  has  been  dotted  with  varying  kinds  of 
racial  trouble. 

The  75th  General  Assembly.  Despite  his  close  identification  with  the  find- 
ings of  the  National  Advisory  Commission,  Governor  Kerner's  administration 
was  something  less  than  a  model  of  state  implementation  of  Commission 
recommendations.  While  the  75th  General  Assembly  was  in  session,  Governor 
Kerner  submitted  special  messages  on  law  enforcement,  higher  education, 
and  employment  discrimination.  In  his  budget  message,  he  made  reference 
to  education  and  social  services.  Yet,  Governor  Kerner's  special  messages, 
viewed  separately  or  collectively,  did  not  present  a  broad  program  for  solving 
inner-city  racial  problems.  His  proposals  for  change  were  essentially  piecemeal 
in  scope  and  administrative  in  content.  He  called  for  the  expansion  of  some 
programs  (e.g.,  local  police  training)  and  the  reorganization  of  some  agencies 
(e.g.,  making  the  Youth  Commission  a  code  department) . 

On  the  positive  side,  it  should  be  noted  that  Governor  Kerner  urged  an 
increase  in  minimum  wages,  a  strengthening  of  the  state  Fair  Employment 
Practices  Commission,  the  establishment  of  an  executive-level  Office  of  Inter- 
governmental Cooperation,  and  the  raising  of  the  state  education  equalization 
level  from  $330  to  $400  per  pupil  (although  he  made  no  mention  of  re- 
moving the  inequities  in  the  state  aid  formula) .  In  calling  for  a  statewide 
"open  housing"  law.  Governor  Kerner  presented  perhaps  his  strongest  state- 
ment on  human  rights.  The  occasion  was  the  opening  of  the  75th  General  As- 
sembly (January  4,  1970). 

The  moral,  social  and  economic  sore  of  discrimination  continues  to  fester  in  the 
body  and  soul  of  our  nation.  It  breeds  poverty  and  crime,  spawns  hatred  and 
violence,  saps  our  strength.  Racial  strife  in  our  State  last  year  necessitated  the 
calling  of  our  National  Guard.  I  am  hopeful  that  it  is  never  so  used  again,  but  if 
need  be  it  will,  as  promptly  and  forcefully  as  before,  to  protect  the  rights  and  prop- 
erty of  all  people.  Greater  responsibility  is  required  of  all.  We  have  our  responsi- 
bility in  government.  It  is  true  that  this  great  social  problem  cannot  be  solved  by 
law  alone,  but  it  is  also  true  that  it  cannot  be  solved  \vithout  the  law.  This  points 
out  the  necessity  of  enactnient  of  a  freedom-of-residence  law. 


The  reason  for  all  such  action  is  contained  in  the  words  of  a  great  governor,  John  P. 
Altgeld,  addressing  himself  to  another  time  of  social  unrest  when  labor  strife  em- 
broiled the  entire  state  and  there  was  discrimination  of  another  kind.  When,  as 
now,  irresponsibility  was  not  confined  to  one  side  of  the  question  and  when  the 
cry  of  anarchist  by  some  covered  every  man  who  simply  protested  injustice  and 

Altgeld  said:  "Only  those  nations  grow  great  which  correct  abuses,  make  reforms, 
and  listen  to  the  voice  of  the  struggling  masses."  Times  have  not  changed  in  this 

Despite  the  eloquence  of  this  statement,  a  state  open  housing  bill  never 
made  its  way  through  the  legislature.  Nor  was  there  any  evidence  of  a  broad 
gubernatorial  program  designed  to  "make  reforms  and  listen  to  the  voice  of  the 
struggling  masses."  Although  Governor  Kemer  supported  an  integrated  Na- 
tional Guard,  open  housing,  nondiscrimination  in  employment,  etc.,  his 
"pre-Report"  posture  as  governor  of  Illinois  gave  little  indication  that  the 
Commission's  work,  under  his  chairmanship,  would  present  the  broad  and 
penetrating  report  which  it  did. 

Kerner's  "post-Report"  tenure  was  short  lived.  Exactly  fourteen  months 
after  his  human  rights  statement  to  the  75th  General  Assembly  and  two  days 
after  the  release  of  the  Commission's  Report,  the  General  Assembly  held  a 
one-day  session  in  Springfield.  It  is  probably  unreasonable  to  expect  legislative 
response  within  forty-eight  hours  after  the  Commission's  Report  was  released. 
Yet  a  few  interesting  bills  were  introduced  at  the  March  4  session  and  were 
acted  upon  when  the  legislature  reconvened  in  July.  One  bill,  which  was  in 
opposition  to  one  of  the  Commission's  findings,  would  have  prevented  the 
assignment  or  busing  of  students  for  purposes  of  racial  integration.  Conversely, 
a  bill  to  create  an  Emplo)'ment  Development  Act  was  introduced.  Under  the 
terms  of  this  proposed  legislation,  business  corporations  would  be  authorized 
to  set  up  wholly  owned  subsidiaries  in  Model  City  or  depressed  areas.  These 
subsidiaries  would  be  exempt  from  corporation  taxes.  This  corresponds  with 
the  Kemer  Commission's  recommendations  for  greater  involvement  by  private 
industry^  and  the  use  of  tax  incentives.^°  Other  bills  would  have  increased 
municipalities'  share  of  the  sales  tax,  increased  the  maximum  permissible  tax 
rate  for  the  Chicago  Board  of  Education,  and  enacted  a  state  freedom-of- 
residence  law.  None  of  these  bills  passed. 

One  month  later.  Dr.  Martin  Luther  King  was  assassinated.  Despite  Gov- 
ernor Kerner's  hope  that  the  National  Guard  would  not  have  to  be  used 
again,  he  sent  troops  into  Chicago  during  a  four-day  siege  following  Dr.  King's 
death.  Eleven  people  were  killed,  some  500  were  injured,  and  almost  3,000 
were  arrested  during  the  disturbances. 

'  Ibid.,  p.  399  and  p.  406. 
^°  Ibid.,  Appendix  H. 


About  sLx  weeks  later,  Governor  Kerner  resigned  to  become  a  judge  in  the 
U.S.  Court  of  Appeals.  His  Lieutenant  Governor,  Samuel  Shapiro,  took  over 
the  state's  top  executive  position. 

Governor  Shapiro  immediately  faced  a  severe  fiscal  crisis  —  one  which 
required  borrowing  from  the  state's  motor  fuel  tax  fund.  When  he  addressed 
a  joint  session  of  the  75th  General  Assembly,  meeting  on  July  15,  he  spoke 
about  the  crisis  and  asked  for  legislative  permission  to  borrow  $60  million  from 
the  motor  fuel  fund.  The  Governor  also  addressed  himself  to  the  "law  and 
order"  issue.  He  called  for  a  strengthening  of  the  state's  gun  control  law 
(passed  in  1967),  an  increase  in  the  number  of  state  police,  and  the  passage 
of  a  "stop-and-frisk"  law. 

Twice  Governor  Shapiro  made  direct  reference  to  the  Kerner  Commission 
Report.  In  urging  a  "stop-and-frisk"  bill,  he  took  cognizance  of  the  warnings 
of  the  Commission  concerning  the  danger  of  such  a  law.  He  noted  that  Gov- 
ernor Kerner  had  vetoed  such  legislation  on  two  previous  occasions  because 
of  its  questionable  constitutionality.  But,  Governor  Shapiro  added,  recent 
U.S.  Supreme  Court  decisions  had  established  reasonable  guidelines  within 
\vhich  his  proposed  legislation  would  fall. 

His  second  reference  to  the  Commission's  Report  \vas  in  regard  to  inner- 
city  property'  insurance.  He  noted  that  a  report  of  the  Commission's  subcom- 
mittee on  insurance  concluded  that  the  ready  availability  of  insurance  was  a 
necessary'  ingredient  in  revitalizing  cities.  He  called  on  the  General  Assembly 
to  implement  the  subcommittee's  recommendations. 

In  the  July  session  of  the  legislature,  Governor  Shapiro  was  successful  in 
getting  some  of  his  recommendations  passed.  The  General  Assembly  passed 
and  sent  to  the  Governor  legislation  on  urban  property  insurance,  stop-and- 
frisk  powers  of  police,  and  borrowing  from  the  motor  fuel  fund.  The  legis- 
lature failed  to  pass  a  strengthening  amendment  to  the  gun  control  law,  an 
increase  in  the  state  police  force,  and  a  bill  which  would  have  created  a  law 
enforcement  planning  and  assistance  board.  In  other  action,  a  bill  which  re- 
quires the  reporting  of  cases  of  malnutrition  to  the  Department  of  Public 
Health  was  passed  and  signed  by  the  Governor.  Two  pieces  of  legislation, 
which  were  "anti-Report"  in  substance,  were  killed  in  committee.  One  bill 
would  have  made  welfare  recipients  ineligible  for  assistance  for  one  year  after 
being  convicted  of  the  crimes  or  araied  violence,  rioting,  or  looting.  The 
other  bill  would  have  prevented  the  hiring  (in  government)  of  anyone  con- 
victed of  looting  and  would  have  provided  for  the  immediate  discharge  of 
anyone  so  convicted. 

The  76th  General  Assembly.  At  the  November,  1968,  general  election. 
Republican  Richard  B.  Ogilvie  defeated  Shapiro  in  the  race  for  governor. 
In  his  inaugural  address  to  the  new  76th  General  Assembly,  Governor  Ogilvie 
did  not  make  specific  reference  to  the  Kerner  Commission.    Yet  the  tone  of 


his  speech  indicated  an  a\vareness  of  some  of  the  problems  included  in  the 


.   .  .  \'oices  are  raised  in  dissent  and  protest,  and  there  is  a  crisis  of  alienation 

among  us. 

.  .  .  The  black  man,  the  youth  and  the  philosopher  who  protest  are  demanding 

change,  and  they  confront  our  conscience  the  way  slavery,  the  sweatshops  and  other 

hypocrisy  of  earlier  times  stirred  Americans. 

.  .  .  We  can't  stand  prosperity — -when  too  many  are  still  poor.    ^Ve  cannot  fully 

accept  the  explosion  of  knowledge  —  when  it  pushes  some  ever  higher  and  others 

into  deepening  ignorance.  W^e  are  uncomfortable  at  the  gap  between  what  we  believe 

and  what  we  have  achieved. 

.  .  .  We  shall  hold  no  objective  more  important  than  to  mobilize  the  full  force  of 

this    state    government   against    poverty    and    ignorance.     For   these    are    the    twin 

scourges  of  our  society.    They  are  the  roots  of  crime  and  of  the  decay  of  our  cities. 

Less  than  a  month  after  his  inaugural  address,  Governor  Ogilvie  went  be- 
fore the  legislature  again  to  discuss  the  increasingly  serious  fiscal  crisis  in  the 
state.  In  his  February  5,  1969,  address,  the  Governor  told  the  legislators  that 
the  state  was  living  on  borrowed  money  through  a  series  of  stop-gap  mea- 
sures. He  called  for  a  review  of  department  personnel,  a  delay  in  new  capital 
construction,  and  a  general  cost-reduction  program  in  state  government.  He 
noted  that  his  administration  ^vould  begin  budgeting  on  an  annual  basis,  and 
he  asked  for  legislative  support  for  a  bill  \\hich  would  establish  a  Bureau  of 
the  Budget. 

On  March  26,  1969,  the  Governor  delivered  a  special  message  on  local 
government  in  which  he  called  for  nine  nonfiscal  structural  reforms.  Basically 
these  reforms  would  have  provided  a  small  degree  of  legislative  home  rule 
for  municipalities.  They  ranged  from  an  expansion  of  local  licensing  powers 
to  authorization  for  intergovernmental  cooperation.  One  suggestion  would 
have  imposed  a  modem  civil  ser\'ice  system  on  the  city  of  Chicago.  Of  the 
governor's  recommendations,  two  ^vere  passed  by  the  legislature.  One  estab- 
lished a  state  Department  of  Local  Government  AflFairs  and  the  other 
accelerated  the  transfer  of  road-building  funds  to  local  treasuries.  The  Local 
Government  Affairs  Department  represents  an  attempt  to  consolidate  some 
other  code  departments'  dealings  with  local  government.  The  new  depart- 
ment came  into  existence  on  January  2,  1970;  consequently,  it  is  too  early 
to  determine  whether  it  will  provide  better  state  servdces  to  local  units  of 

Governor  Ogilvie's  April  1,  1969,  budget  message  to  the  legislature  out- 
lined increases  in  three  major  functional  areas.  In  education,  the  Go\ernor 
proposed  raising  the  state  per-pupil  grant  from  $400  to  $500  and  adjusting 
the  aid  formula  from  Average  Daily  Attendance  (ADA)  to  Average  Daily 
Membership  (ADM).  The  new  formula,  if  approved  by  the  legislature, 
would  be  based  on  enrollment,  and  this  would  significantly  aid  inner-city 

school  districts  where  absenteeism  is  higher  than  it  is  in  suburban  or  rural 
districts.  The  Governor  also  noted  that  he  would  have  further  recommenda- 
tions for  state  aid  formula  adjustments  in  1970.  In  addition  to  these  changes, 
Governor  Ogilvie  budgeted  $32  million  for  state  aid  to  private  schools.  If 
approved  by  the  General  Assembly,  this  would  be  a  "first"  in  Illinois  history. 

The  second  area  budgeted  for  a  major  increase  was  highway  transportation 
(an  additional  $437  million).  The  third  area  of  initiative  was  a  proposed 
new  program  of  revenue-sharing  with  local  government.  This  was  part  of 
the  income  tax  package  proposed  by  the  Governor  in  this  budget  message. 

When  the  complete  story  of  the  state's  first  income  tax  is  told,  it  will 
unquestionably  rank  with  the  most  intriguing  political  sagas  in  the  history 
of  Illinois.  It  will  be  a  story  filled  with  vignettes  of  persuasion,  cajoling, 
intimidation,  and  compromise  in  the  best  tradition  of  politics.  Suffice  it  to 
say  here  that  the  Governor,  in  his  April  1,  1969,  budget  message,  proposed  the 
imposition  of  a  4  per  cent  flat  rate  tax  on  both  individuals  and  corporations, 
allowing  a  $1,000  per  person  exemption  with  one-eighth  of  the  revenue  going 
back  to  local  governments.  When  the  smoke  had  cleared,  the  final  income 
tax  bill  passed  by  the  legislature  (and  signed  by  the  Governor)  provided  for 
a  4  per  cent  tax  on  corporations  and  a  2'/2  per  cent  tax  on  individuals  (with 
$1,000  exemption),  with  one-twelfth  of  the  revenue  going  back  to  local 
governments  on  a  per  capita  basis.  There  was  also  an  increase  in  the  propor- 
tion of  the  sales  tax  which  would  stay  with  the  local  community  (from  % 
of  1  per  cent  to  a  full  1  per  cent) . 

In  many  respects,  the  story  of  the  76th  General  Assembly  is  the  story  of 
the  passage  of  the  income  tax.  As  one  knowledgeable  political  reporter  said 
near  the  end  of  the  session : 

The  income  tax  completely  dominates  everything  else.  The  whole  show  is  like  a 
slow  ballet  waiting  to  build  to  its  inevitable  climax:  the  tax  issue." 

Yet  there  were  almost  2,000  bills  enacted  into  law  during  the  76th 
General  Assembly,  only  a  few  of  which  related  to  the  revenue  package.^^  As 
in  any  session  of  the  General  Assembly,  many  of  the  bills  were  technical  and 
housekeeping  in  nature,  although  some  have  relevance  for  the  findings  of  the 
Kerner  Commission  Report.  These  were  divided  into  functional  categories 
for  purposes  of  analysis. 

Education.  Some  of  the  Governor's  recommendations  concerning  education 

"  Chicago  Sun  Times,  June  16,  1969. 

"  Technically,  the  76th  General  Assembly  has  not  adjourned  "sine  die."  There 
is  a  planned  session  around  April  1,  1970,  with  the  possibility  of  further  sessions  in 
the  fall.  At  the  time  of  this  writing,  however,  the  legislature  had  completed  its 
normal  January  to  June  meeting  with  a  short  October  session  added.  It  was  these 
sessions  which  were  analyzed  in  this  paper.  One  is  reminded  that  the  76th  General 
Assembly  represents  the  first  full  legislative  session  to  be  held  after  the  release  of 
the  Kerner  Commission  Report. 


have  been  noted  earlier.  The  legislature  went  beyond  the  Governor's  proposed 
increase  of  state  per-pupil  aid;  the  General  Assembly  passed  a  bill  which 
increased  the  aid  from  $400  to  $520  per  student.  However,  bills  which  would 
change  the  state-aid  formula  (from  ADA  to  ADM)  were  killed  in  committee. 

Am^g  the  education  bills  passed  by  the  76th  General  Assembly  were  two 
which  raised  the  maximum  interest  rate  payable  on  school  bonds  and  raised 
the  tax  rate  maximums  for  school  building  pui-poses.  Other  bills  which  passed 
authorized  the  Chicago  Board  of  Education  to  employ  volunteer  personnel 
for  nonteaching  duties,  lowered  the  eligibility  age  (from  21  to  19)  for  taking 
the  GED  test,  and  appropriated  over  $6  million  to  help  pay  for  school  trans- 
portation costs.  Perhaps  the  two  most  noteworthy  bills  \vhich  passed  the 
legislature  were  HB  2601  and  SB  1255.  The  latter  piece  of  legislation  set  up 
an  experimental  junior  college  district  in  East  St.  Louis  which  is  financed 
entirely  by  state  funds.  Bill  HB  2601  appropriated  $5.4  million  to  expand 
a  free  school  lunch  program  for  needy  children.  Prior  to  this,  the  program 
had  been  entirely  financed  by  the  federal  government. 

Among  the  defeated  bills  were  ones  which  would  have  authorized  Chicago 
to  levy  an  additional  1  per  cent  municipal  retailers  occupation  tax  to  be  used 
for  school  purposes,  granted  state  aid  to  parents  of  children  in  private  schools, 
and  provided  for  state  funding  of  local  programs  for  educationally  dis- 
advantaged children.  Two  other  bills,  \vhich  were  in  direct  opposition  to 
Kemer  Commission  recommendations,  were  tabled  in  committee.  One  would 
have  removed  provisions  prohibiting  school  boards  from  promoting  segregation 
in  the  erection,  purchase,  or  acquisition  of  school  buildings.  The  other  would 
have  prohibited  the  assignment  of  pupils  to  a  school  outside  their  district 
without  the  written  permission  of  their  parents. 

The  Police  and  the  Courts.  The  Kemer  Commission  Report  contains 
many  pages  devoted  to  an  analysis  of  ho%v  the  behavior  of  police  and  the 
administration  of  justice  can  sometimes  act  as  a  catalyst  for  violence  in  the 
ghetto.  The  record  of  the  76th  General  Assembly  in  this  regard  is  something 
less  than  enviable.  Only  tvvo  important  bills  were  passed  in  this  session. 
One  bill  provided  that  no  one  is  to  be  barred  from  an  appointment  to  any 
civil  service  position  (other  than  policeman)  for  any  record  of  misdemeanor 
convictions  or  arrests  without  conviction.  The  other  bill  reduced  the  penalty 
for  the  possession  of  marijuana. 

Some  "positive"  bills  (e.g.,  the  repeal  of  the  "stop-and-frisk"  law,  the 
creation  of  a  Commission  of  Police  Relations,  the  requirement  of  training 
for  Cook  County  police  appointees,  and  the  creation  of  a  statewide  Defender 
General  System)  were  stalled  somewhere  along  the  legislative  path.  A  series 
of  bills  which  would  make  the  granting  of  parole  and  the  raising  of  bail  more 
difficult  were  killed  in  committee.  A  bill  which  would  have  made  the  1967 
gun  control  law  applicable  only  to  Cook  County  was  vetoed  by  the  Governor. 

And,  an  eavesdropping  law  was  passed  and  signed  by  the  Governor.  This 
law  provides  that  one  party  to  a  conversation  can  consent  to  the  use  of  an 
eavesdropping  device  and  it  permits  the  use  of  information  obtained  by  such 
a  device  in  a  criminal  proceeding. 

Housing.  Despite  the  introduction  of  a  number  of  "open  housing"  bills 
in  the  76th  General  Assembly,  none  was  passed.  A  bill  designed  to  eliminate 
racial  discrimination  in  the  rental  of  housing  also  failed.  Bills  which  would 
strip  Chicago  aldermen  of  their  veto  power  over  public  housing  sites,  prohibit 
state  housing  authorities  from  discriminating  against  unwed  mothers  re- 
garding tenant  selection,  and  permit  the  withholding  of  rent  if  the  landlord 
did  not  repair  premises  in  compliance  with  local  building  codes  were  all 
killed  in  committees. 

Two  bills  which  were  passed  deserve  mention.  One  provides  for  the 
liability  of  landlords  who  exceed  the  number  of  apartments  permitted  by 
local  ordinances.  The  other  is  designed  to  curb  "panic  peddling"  in  racially 
changing  neighborhoods.  The  actual  workability  of  the  latter  bill  is  not  yet 
clear.  It  provides  that  owners  of  property  who  do  not  wish  to  be  solicited 
for  the  sale  of  such  property  can  file  an  affidavit  with  the  state  Human  Rela- 
tions Commission.  Official  complaints  can  be  filed  with  the  Attorney  General. 

Health  and  Welfare.  There  were  a  large  number  of  bills  introduced  in 
the  1969  General  Assembly  which  could  be  called  "health  and  welfare" 
proposals.  Some  could  be  labeled  "positive,"  (i.e.,  in  line  with  the  general 
thrust  of  the  Kerner  Commission  Report)  while  others  were  clearly  "nega- 
tive" (i.e.,  in  opposition  to  the  Commission's  recommendations  concerning  the 
welfare  system) . 

Among  the  "positive"  pieces  of  legislation  which  passed  was  a  bill  which 
permits  the  Department  of  Public  Aid  to  disregard  the  loan  value  of  any 
insurance  policy  held  by  an  applicant;  legislation  empowering  the  Depart- 
ment of  Children  and  Family  Services  to  make  grant-in-aid  payments  to  local 
governmental  units  and  other  nonprofit  bodies  which  provide  day  care  ser- 
vices; a  bill  which  extends  eligibility  for  education  and  training  programs  to 
persons  who  qualify  for  medical  assistance;  and  a  bill  which  extends  eligibility 
for  the  ADC  program  to  children  placed  in  foster  care  by  order  of  the  Juvenile 
Court.  In  the  area  of  medical  services,  legislation  was  passed  to  provide 
hearing  tests  for  all  school  or  day  care  children  (effective  September  1,  1970) . 

"Positive"  bills  which  did  not  pass  the  76the  General  Assembly  included 
legislation  which  would  have  created  a  legislative  commission  to  study  the 
feasibility  of  supplying  birth  control  services  to  women  on  public  assistance, 
would  have  added  four  recipients  to  the  Board  of  Public  Aid  Commissioners, 
would  have  increased  AFDC  and  General  Assistance  grants  to  specified 
federal   standards,   and  would   have   authorized   the  Department   of   Public 


Aid  to  assist  in  a  recipient's  defense  in  an  eviction  action  resulting  from  rent- 
withholding  by  the  department. 

A  number  of  "negative"  bills  were  introduced,  but  not  passed.  One  pro- 
posed bill  would  have  limited  aid  payments  to  a  recipient  who  had  lived  in 
Illinois  less  than  one  year.  Another  would  have  required  general  assistance 
recipients  to  accept  suitable  work.  A  third  bill  would  have  denied  aid  to 
applicants  who  were  found  to  have  entered  Illinois  for  the  purpose  of  re- 
ceiving aid.  The  most  noteworthy  legislation  in  this  category  was  a  bill 
introduced  by  Speaker  of  the  House  (now  U.  S.  Senator)  Ralph  Smith  which 
would  have  cut  welfare  payments  by  30  per  cent.  This  brought  Rev.  Jesse 
Jackson  and  some  2,000  welfare  recipients  to  Springfield  to  protest,  Jackson 
made  unscheduled  speeches  before  the  Illinois  House  and  Senate  and  packed 
the  galleries  in  the  House  chambers.  The  Governor  then  opposed  the  measure 
and  Smith's  bill  was  tabled. 

Civil  Rights.  As  was  previously  noted,  there  were  a  number  of  bills  intro- 
duced in  the  76th  General  Assembly  dealing  with  some  kind  of  "open  housing" 
law.  None  was  successful.  A  bill  which  would  have  made  the  birthday  of 
Dr.  Martin  Luther  King  a  legal  holiday  was  vetoed  by  the  Governor,  but 
legislation  which  designated  Dr.  King's  birthday  as  a  school  commemorative 
day  was  passed  and  signed  by  the  Governor. 

The  "civil  rights"  bills  which  passed  the  General  Assembly  provided  for 
an  authorization  to  municipalities  to  promulgate  regulations  or  establish 
various  programs  to  bring  about  improved  racial  and  ethnic  group  relations 
and  a  prohibition  against  any  rules  or  regulations  which  result  in  discrimina- 
tion in  medical  insurance  policies  governing  the  reimbursement  for  physicians' 

Among  the  bills  which  failed  to  pass  was  one  which  would  have  broadened 
the  types  of  employment  discrimination  prohibited  in  contracts  for  public 
buildings;  another  would  have  created  a  type  of  omnibus  Fair  Practices 
Commission  to  investigate  all  kinds  of  discrimination ;  a  third  was  designed  to 
protect  the  civil  rights  of  all  persons  to  inherit,  purchase,  lease,  sell,  hold,  and 
convey  real  and  personal  property;  and  a  fourth  would  have  created  a  new 
Commission  on  Human  Rights.  There  was  also  a  series  of  bills  (sponsored  by 
the  four  black  senators)  which  would  have  provided  some  protection  to  con- 
sumers in  installment  buying  transactions.  All  of  these  bills  were  tabled  in 
committee.  There  was  also  an  interesting  case  of  legislative  inertia  in  the 
House.  On  April  28,  1969,  the  House  adopted  Bill  HR-123  which  set  up  a 
seven-member  committee  to  determine  the  extent  of  hunger  and  malnutrition 
in  the  state  and  to  report  by  June  2,  1969.  The  committee  failed  to  conduct 
hearings  —  and  failed  to  report. 

Employment.  The  76th  General  Assembly  dealt  with  a  number  of  bills 
which  fit  under  the  rubric  "employment."    A  vast  proportion  of  these  con- 

cerned  such  issues  as  collective  bargaining  for  public  employees,  discrimination 
based  on  sex,  and  proper  standards  for  employment  of  \vomen.  Legislation 
dealing  with  the  hard-core  unemployed  and  changing  the  opportunity  struc- 
ture in  the  state  was  almost  nonexistent.  One  bill  which  did  pass  appropriated 
$15,000  to  the  Fair  Employment  Practices  Commission  (FEPC)  to  enforce 
laws  prohibiting  discrimination  by  anyone  holding  a  state  contract  or  by  any 
labor  organization  having  a  collective  bargaining  agreement  with  anyone 
holding  a  state  contract. 

Bills  which  would  have  established  a  minimum  wage  of  $1.60  per  hour, 
required  political  subdivisions  to  emplo)-  former  public  aid  recipients  in  20 
per  cent  of  their  non-civil  service  positions,  permitted  departments  of  public 
aid  to  provide  lists  of  recipients  to  private  employers  engaged  in  training 
programs,  and  provided  for  a  program  of  new  careers  in  state  service  for  per- 
sons who  might  otherwise  be  public  aid  recipients  were  all  tabled  in  commit- 
tees. Some  of  the  black  representatives  in  the  House  sponsored  a  series  of  bills 
which  would  have  prevented  a  felony  conviction  from  being  an  automatic 
bar  to  certification  for  certain  professions  licensed  by  the  state.  These  bills 
passed  the  House  but  were  stalled  in  the  Senate.  A  similar  fate  awaited  a 
possibly  significant  bill  which  would  have  given  the  state  FEPC  initiatory 
powers  to  investigate  unfair  labor  practices. 

Government  Restructuring.  The  General  Assembly  made  some  organiza- 
tional changes  at  the  state,  county,  and  local  levels.  At  the  state  level,  estab- 
lishment of  the  Bureau  of  the  Budget  and  establishment  of  the  Department  of 
Local  Government  have  been  noted.  The  legislature  also  created  the  De- 
partment of  Law  Enforcement  and  the  Department  of  Corrections.  Both 
departments  have  absorbed  some  of  the  functions  of  the  Department  of  Public 
Safety.  The  Department  of  Law  Enforcement  is  most  noteworthy  for  one 
of  its  divisions  —  the  Illinois  Bureau  of  Investigation  ( IBI ) ,  patterned  after 
the  national  FBI.  The  Department  of  Corrections  is  significant  in  that  the 
bill  which  created  it  also  provided  for  a  full-time  Parole  and  Pardon  Board 
under  its  direction.  The  hope  is  that  more  equitable  administration  will  re- 
sult from  a  full-time  board.  A  bill  which  would  have  created  the  office  of 
Ombudsman  to  be  filled  by  the  Lieutenant  Governor  was  tabled  in  com- 
mittee.   This  bill  would  have  given  the  office  some  investigatory  powers. 

At  the  county  level,  a  series  of  bills  was  passed  which  will  eventually  re- 
structure county  boards  (under  township  organization)  to  conform  with 
recent  "one-man,  one-vote"  decisions  of  the  courts.  One  of  the  underlying 
assumptions  in  the  "one-man,  one-vote"  decisions  is  that  governing  bodies 
chosen  on  that  basis  will  be  more  responsive  to  the  needs  of  urban  areas.  A 
bill  which  would  have  created  a  strong  county  executive  form  of  government 
failed  in  the  Senate.  As  was  previously  noted,  efforts  to  authorize  the  creation 
of  regional  councils  of  government  also  failed. 

At  the  municipality  level,  one  rather  interesting  alternative  was  added  to 
the  list  of  options  available  to  city-manager  forms  of  government.  Prior  to 
this  legislative  session,  the  statutes  allowed  the  election  of  councilmen  either 
from  districts  or  on  an  at-large  basis.  Now,  depending  on  the  size  of  the 
community,  the  voters  can  elect  some  councilmen  at  large  and  some  from 
districts.  The  Kerner  Commission  Report  notes  (at  page  296)  that  at-large 
election  systems  tend  to  effectively  disenfranchise  minority  groups.  The  ex- 
pectation is  that,  in  those  cities  which  choose  to  adopt  this  combination  sys- 
tem, minority  groups  will  more  easily  elect  some  of  their  own  people  to  the 
city  council. 

The  exact  relationship  between  these  kinds  of  governmental  reorganiza- 
tion schemes  and  improvement  in  the  quality  of  life  in  the  inner-city  is  far 
from  clear.  The  departmental  changes  at  the  state  level  may  very  well  have 
the  effect  of  more  efficient  administration  in  certain  functional  areas.  But, 
as  the  Kerner  Commission  Report  points  out  (at  p.  287,  noting  the  rise  of 
"efficient"  managerial  government  and  the  corresponding  demise  of  "ma- 
chine" politics),  governmental  efficiency  does  not  necessarily  mean  govern- 
mental responsiveness  —  particularly  responsiveness  to  the  powerless  groups 
in  society. 

The  changes  noted  at  the  county  and  city  levels  may  have  ramifications 
which  are  equally  unclear.  The  expectations  are  that  these  changes  will  re- 
sult in  greater  minority  group  representation  on  county  boards  and  city 
councils.  However,  historical  examples  of  the  ingenuity  of  those  in  power  to 
turn  apparent  reform  into  mechanisms  for  maintainance  of  the  status  quo 
admonish  one  to  adopt  a  "wait  and  see"  attitude  regarding  the  real  effects 
of  these  changes. 


The  major  underlying  assumption  in  this  paper  is  that  a  state  legislature, 
specifically  the  Illinois  General  Assembly,  could  legitimately  be  expected  to 
respond,  in  some  fashion,  to  the  findings  of  the  Kerner  Commission  Report. 
A  review  of  the  bills  passed  since  the  release  of  the  Report  forces  one  to 
conclude  that  legislative  response  was  practically  nonexistent.  The  most 
significant  output  from  the  General  Assembly  would  include  the  state's 
revenue-sharing  plan  with  local  governments,  urban  property  insurance 
legislation,  an  experimental  junior  college  in  East  St.  Louis  with  full  state 
funding,  and  an  expanded  school  lunch  program.  Other  important  legis- 
lation (with  uncertain  ramifications)  would  include  the  reporting  of  cases 
of  malnutrition  in  children,  efforts  to  curb  "panic  peddling"  in  racially 
changing  neighborhoods,  attempts  to  loosen  the  welfare  system,  and  structural 
changes  which  may  result  in  increased  minority  representation  on  some 
governing  bodies.    The  only  legislation  which  was  clearly  in  direct  response 

to  the  Kerner  Commission  Report  was  the  bill  on  urban  property  insurance 
which  followed  some  of  the  recommendations  of  the  Commission's  subcom- 
mittee on  insurance. 

Why  was  there  such  meager  response?  This  question  immediately  comes 
to  mind  after  one  compares  the  seriousness  of  the  Kerner  Commission  findings 
with  the  output  of  the  Illinois  legislature.  A  complete  analysis  of  legislative 
inertia  would  require  another  paper  in  addition  to  this  one,  but  a  few  general 
remarks  are  in  order. 

The  legislative  process  in  Illinois  is  a  curious  mixture  of  political  culture, 
tradition,  and  partisanship  with  external  pressures  and  internal  structure. 

The  Illinois  General  Assembly  does  not  act  —  it  reacts.  Historically,  most 
far-reaching  proposals  have  had  their  origin  outside  the  legislature.  Governors, 
executive  agencies,  and  lobbying  groups  have  been  the  main  sources  of  ideas.^^ 
But,  since  the  release  of  the  Kerner  Commission  Report,  not  one  outside 
agency  or  group  has  come  before  the  legislature  with  a  broad  program  based 
on  the  Commission's  findings.  The  one  possible  exception  to  this  is  the  Wel- 
fare Council  of  Metropolitan  Chicago  (WCMC)  which  keeps  a  close  watch 
over  health  and  welfare  legislation  in  Springfield.  In  fact,  late  in  1968  the 
Council  issued  a  flyer  entitled,  "Where  We  Stand  on  Issues  Raised  by  the 
Kerner  Report."  This  was  sent  to  legislators,  but  it  had  little  or  no  effect. 
It  was  written  in  general  language  and  was  directed  to  all  levels  of  govern- 
ment. No  pressure  group  developed  a  program  of  specific  pieces  of  legislation 
to  which  the  state  legislature  could  react. 

Nor  did  such  a  program  come  from  the  executive  branch.  Some  piecemeal 
legislation,  recommended  by  the  various  governors,  did  pass  the  legislature 
but,  again,  none  presented  a  broad  program  based  on  Commission  findings. 
In  defense  of  the  three  governors,  it  should  be  noted  that  none  of  them  had 
the  luxury  of  a  long  tenure  in  which  to  develop  far-reaching  programs. 
Kerner  became  a  judge  shortly  after  the  Commission's  Report  was  issued, 
Shapiro  faced  an  election  campaign  soon  after  taking  office,  and  Ogilvie  was 
forced  to  break  in  a  new  administration  while  facing  a  severe  fiscal  crisis 
culminating  in  the  state's  first  income  tax.  Yet  despite  these  explanations, 
the  fact  remains  that  the  General  Assembly  had  no  gubernatorial  program  to 
which  they  could  react.  In  their  addresses  and  special  messages,  all  three 
governors  indicated  a  concern  with  the  inner-city,  with  poverty,  and  with 
racial  conflict.  But,  in  general,  these  concerns  remained  at  the  level  of  rhetoric 
and  were  not  really  translated  into  policy  output. 

Another  important  explanatory  variable  which  should  be  used  when 
analyzing  Illinois  legislative  politics  is  the  traditional  conflict  between  Chicago 
and  downstate.    In  general,  downstate  Republican  suspicion  of  Chicago  and 

"Samuel    K.    Gove,    Reapportionment    and    The    Cities    (Chicago:     Center   for 
Research   in   Urban   Government,   Loyola   University,   No.    12,   June,    1968),   p.    31. 


Chicago  Democratic  suspicion  of  downstate  is  a  consistent  undercurrent 
in  most  legislative  sessions.  Illinois'  unique  system  of  cumulative  voting 
guarantees  that  the  parties  will  be  closely  divided  in  the  House,  although 
the  Senate  is  normally  heavily  Republican.  Cumulative  voting  is  also  an  in- 
hibiting factor  in  statewide  intra-party  cohesion  since  in  many  districts, 
minority  party  candidates  find  themselves  running  against  party  colleagues. 
This  kind  of  politics  can  split  local  party  organizations.  All  in  all,  then,  intra- 
party  conflict  (based  to  a  large  extent  on  geography)  and  intra-party  an- 
tagonisms (based  to  a  large  extent  on  a  unique  selection  system)  combine  to 
create  a  legislative  setting  which  is  not  conducive  to  broad  social  reform. 
Under  these  circumstances,  it  would  be  surprising  to  see  one  of  the  political 
parties  develop  a  broad  program  which  related  to  the  Kerner  Commission 

In  many  respects,  the  Illinois  legislature  is  a  microcosm  of  the  larger 
society.  It  is  generally  white,  middle  class,  and  well  satisfied  with  the  status 
quo.  It  responds  to  pressure  —  but  to  certain  kinds  of  pressure.  Pressure  must 
be  exerted  in  a  legitimate  manner  and  come  from  a  legitimate  source.  Strong, 
well-funded  lobbying  groups  enjoy  a  considerable  amount  of  influence  in  the 
legislature.  Unfortunately,  civil  rights  groups  do  not  enjoy  a  similar  amount 
of  legitimacy.  And  the  effect  is  cyclical  —  civil  rights  groups  do  not  see  the 
Illinois  legislature  as  an  agent  for  social  change. 

Given  all  these  factors,  what  does  one  see  when  he  examines  the  relation- 
ship between  the  Kerner  Commission  Report  and  the  operation  of  the  Illinois 
General  Assembly?  One  sees  a  deliberative  body  which  reacts;  but  one  also 
sees  an  executive  branch,  a  system  of  pressure  groups,  political  parties,  etc., 
which  failed  to  present  anything  to  which  that  deliberative  body  could  react. 
The  problem  rests  both  in  and  out  of  the  legislature.  The  legislature  is  guilty 
because  it  continues  to  operate  under  a  system  of  reduced  legislator  visibility, 
consistent  conflict,  and  inevitable  compromise  —  a  system  in  which  organiza- 
tional maintenance  becomes  the  primary  goal.  It  continues  to  sanction  a 
pressure-group  system  in  which  the  legitimacy  of  the  group  is  based  on  how 
strong  and  how  middle  class  it  is  and  not  on  the  content  of  its  position.  Out- 
side institutions  share  equally  in  the  problem  because  they  understand  the 
"rules  of  the  legislative  game"  but  are  unwilling  to  make  the  necessary  ad- 
justments to  propose  a  system  of  human  dignity.^* 

Three  interesting  and  unusual  events  which  took  place  during  the  76th 
General  Assembly  provide  some  reason  for  hope.  The  convergence  of  Jesse 
Jackson  (from  Chicago)  and  the  United  Front  delegation  (from  Cairo)  on 
the  General  Assembly  indicate  that  this  kind  of  pressure  can  be  successful. 

"  These  considerations,  plus  the  normal  conservatism  of  the  Illinois  legislature, 
provide  some  explanation  for  the  defeat  of  certain  individual  "positive"  bills.  How- 
ever, the  number  of  factors  affecting  the  success  or  failure  of  any  one  bill  may  be 

Rev.  Jackson  (head  of  Operation  Breadbasket)  and  his  followers  had  some 
effect  on  the  withdrawal  of  a  bill  to  cut  welfare  payments  by  30  per  cent.  A 
legislative  commission  was  appointed  to  investigate  the  racial  troubles  in 
Cairo.  One  result  was  the  repeal  of  an  old  Illinois  law  which  gave  legal  status 
to  vigilante  groups.  Further  state  involvment  in  the  Cairo  situation  is 

The  third  phenomenon  is  perhaps  the  most  promising.  The  76th  General 
Assembly  was  the  scene  of  an  emerging  mobilization  of  black  legislators.  There 
were  eighteen  blacks  in  the  General  Assembly  (fourteen  in  the  House  and 
four  in  the  Senate)  .^^  They  began  to  vote  together,  to  lobby  together,  to  caucus 
together,  and  even  to  filibuster  together.  Although  they  maintained  an  interest 
in  all  civil  rights  legislation,  they  focused  much  of  their  energy  on  one  issue 
—  hiring  more  blacks  in  state  government.  They  received  support  from  the 
Governor,  and  a  House  committee  was  appointed  to  investigate  the  problem. 
This  committee  will  report  by  the  end  of  1970. 

Black  legislators  and  black  pressure  groups  may  combine  to  create  a 
powerful  coalition.  They  have  begun  to  develop  their  own  brand  of  legiti- 
macy and  they  are  becoming  increasingly  aware  of  the  "rules  of  the  game." 
Strong  political  mobilization  may  be  the  key  to  unlock  a  previously  tight 
legislative  structure  in  Illinois.  After  all,  political  power  is  what  the  legislature 
understands  best. 

^^  This  represents  the  largest  number  of  blacks  in  any  state  legislature  in  the 
country.  Proportionately,  however,  the  Senate  (6.9  per  cent)  and  the  House  (7.9 
per  cent)  fall  below  the  proportion  of  state  population  classified  as  nonwhite  (10.3 
per  cent). 




The  civil  disorders  that  surfaced  in  major  urban  ghettos  during  the  1960's 
are  symptomatic  of  social  ills  endemic  to  American  society.  The  problems  of 
our  cities  touch  nearly  every  American  and  will  require  a  national  effort  to 
remedy.  Agreed  on  this  diagnosis,  the  National  Advisory  (Kerner)  Com- 
mission on  Civil  Disorders  devotes  some  30,000  words  in  its  March,  1968, 
Report  to  recommendations  for  national  action.  Though  local  leaders  and 
community  institutions  are  charged  with  prime  responsibility  for  dealing  with 
the  conditions  that  spawn  riots,  the  authors  of  the  Report  are  mindful  of  a 
substantial  federal  role.  The  commitment  of  massive  national  resources  is 
a  key  ingredient  in  the  Commission's  prescription  to  heal  urban  problems.  Only 
the  investment  of  federal  revenue  is  deemed  adequate  to  meet  the  high  costs 
of  coping  with  unrest  in  the  cities.  The  national  leadership  is  enjoined  to  help 
generate  the  will  and  compassion  of  the  nation's  unions,  churches,  founda- 
tions, and  universities  in  the  undertaking.  Toward  these  ends,  the  Kerner 
Report  outlines  a  federal  role  that  is  less  marked  by  novel  approaches  than  by 
more  earnest  pursuit  of  goals  already  set,  and  by  improved  administration  of 
programs  already  in  force. 

The  United  States  Congress  is  seldom  addressed  specifically  in  the  Com- 
mission's recommendations.  Even  so,  the  Congress  is  implicated  in  virtually 
every  proposal  calling  for  national  action.  As  guardian  of  the  federal  purse 
and  spokesman  for  majority  and  minority  interests,  Congress  is  an  indispensable 
partner  in  the  business  of  shaping  urban  policies.  In  recognition  of  this  fact, 
this  essay  examines  the  congressional  response  to  the  Kerner  Report  by  tracing 
and  accounting  for  the  disposition  in  Congress  of  the  Report^  recommenda- 
tions. The  essay  is  divided  into  three  sections.  The  first  reviews  the  Report's 
explicit  and  implicit  substantive  demands  on  Capitol  Hill  legislators.  We 
next  survey  legislative  activities  in  the  19  months  following  March  1,  1968, 
for  direct  evidence  of  the  Commission's  contribution  to  the  congressional 
product.  A  third  section  explores  several  explanations  for  the  observed  be- 
havior of  the  Congress  and  speculates  on  the  future  of  the  Kerner  Report  as 
a  blueprint  for  legislation  in  the  1970's.  The  essay  concludes  with  a  considera- 
tion of  the  probable  fate  of  welfare  proposals  introduced  by  the  Nixon  Ad- 
ministration in  August,  1969. 

Chapter  17  of  the  Kerner  Commission  Report  singles  out  employment, 
education,  welfare,  and  housing  for  specific  recommendations  to  national 
decision-makers.  In  the  discussion  below  we  concentrate  on  two  of  these 
problem  areas,  employment  and  welfare,  and  inventory  those  proposals  that 
appear  to  be  invitations  to  congressional  action.  Much  of  our  presentation  of 
the  Commission's  recommendations  necessarily  departs  from  the  original  text 
in  order  to  draw  out  the  implications  for  legislation.  To  illustrate  the  various 
forms  a  congressional  response  might  take,  we  rely  on  our  own  notions  of 
plausible  actions  as  well  as  on  suggestions  contained  in  the  Report. 

1.  Congress  is  called  upon  to  assure  that  there  is  a  sustained  emphasis  on 
national  economic  growth.  The  Report  is  especially  anxious  to  see  newly 
trained  and  underemployed  persons  absorbed  into  the  workforce  at  a  higher 
rate.  The  Commissioners  assume  that  an  expanding  economy  can  be  kept 
from  overheating  and  that  Congress  and  the  Administration  will  continue 
to  follow  an  essentially  Keynesian  economic  strategy. 

2.  Congress  is  directed  to  encourage  the  creation  of  new  jobs  in  both  the 
public  and  private  sectors  of  the  economy.  Over  one  million  new  jobs  are 
requested  in  a  three-year  period  for  each  sector.  Congress  is  asked  to  increase 
shaqDly  the  amount  reimbursed  to  employees  who  hire  the  otherwise  unem- 
ployable and  is  requested  to  legislate  tax  credits  for  participating  employers. 
The  Report  endorses  such  programs  as  the  Neighborhood  Youth  Corps,  the 
training  of  welfare  recipients  under  AFDC,  and  retooling  in  the  Manpower 
Development  Training  Act.  Absent  from  the  recommendations,  however,  is 
any  suggestion  that  Congress  consider  WPA-style  programs  to  create  jobs  for 
the  hard  core  unemployed. 

3.  The  Report  stresses  the  need  for  greater  mobility  within  the  public  job 
structure.  To  accomplish  this,  Congress  is  asked  to  strengthen  the  staff,  in- 
crease the  resources,  and  expand  the  authorization  of  the  Equal  Employment 
Opportunities  Commission.  The  Kerner  Report  recommends  that  federal, 
state,  and  local  government  be  brought  more  effectively  under  the  anti- 
discrimination provisions  of  Title  VII  of  the  1964  Civil  Rights  Act.  Interest- 
ingly, Congress  is  not  asked  to  consider  modifications  in  civil  ser\'ice  statutes 
as  a  means  of  providing  more  flexibility  in  some  public  employment  categories. 

4.  The  Commission  suggests  that  the  Congress  improve  small  business  and 
entrepreneurial  opportunities  in  urban  and  rural  poverty  areas  by  facilitating 
public  and  private  investments.  Specifically,  Congress  is  called  upon  to  con- 
sider increasing  tax  credits  to  business  and  to  liberalize  the  current  definition 
of  "investment."  The  Report  implies  that  the  Congress  should  review  those 
practices  of  the  Small  Business  Administration  and  the  Commerce  Department 
aimed  at  stimulating  business  in  depressed  areas. 

5.  The  Report  recommends  that  job  training  programs  be  complemented 


by  better  employment  information  for  the  newly  trained  worker.  The  experi- 
mental mobility  program  under  the  Manpower  Development  and  Training 
Act  is  cited  to  illustrate  ho\v  the  trained  may  be  aided  in  finding  jobs. 

Current  welfare  policies  are  characterized  by  the  Commission  as  con- 
tributing to  the  social  disorganization  and  helping  to  precipitate  civil  disorders. 
The  Report  found  two  general  deficiencies  in  the  prevailing  \velfare  s)stem: 
it  fails  to  include  many  needy  people  who,  if  assisted,  can  become  productive 
and  self-sufficient;  and  it  fails  to  establish  adequate  levels  of  assistance.  An 
overhaul  of  the  system  is  called  for  at  the  federal,  state,  and  local  levels.  The 
Commission  notes  that  without  federal  legislation  no  changes  are  probable, 
since  better  than  90  per  cent  of  welfare  pa^-ments  across  the  country  are  fully 
or  partially  supported  by  national  funds. 

1.  The  Report  suggests  that  a  minimum  income  standard  be  set  for 
families  covered  by  the  Aid  for  Families  of  Dependent  Children  program. 
Congress  is  asked  to  consider  that  the  "poverty  level"  be  established  at  $3,335 
for  a  family  of  four,  the  standard  employed  by  the  Social  Security  Administra- 
tion. The  amount,  it  is  argued,  should  reflect  variations  in  the  cost  of  living 
in  difTerent  geographic  areas.  Additionally,  federal  legislators  are  advised  to 
amend  welfare  legislation  in  order  to  increase  the  federal  portion  of  AFDC 
monthly  payments. 

2.  Congress  is  asked  to  give  permanent  status  to  a  provision  in  the  1961 
legislation  making  AFDC  payments  available  to  needy  families  with  two  un- 
employed parents.  It  is  also  recommended  that  this  provision  be  mandatory  in 
all  states  and  that  a  broader  definition  of  unemployment  be  uniformly  adopted. 

3.  The  Commission  favors  job  training  for  welfare  recipients,  though  it 
suggests  that  women  with  "small"  children  should  not  be  compelled  to  work 
in  order  to  retain  support.  A  recommendation  is  made  that  a  1967  law 
allocating  funds  for  day  care  centers  be  expanded  by  Congress.  The  Report 
does  not,  however,  explore  the  probable  costs  of  a  full-scale  program.  Also, 
the  Commission  requests  that  ^velfare  recipients  be  allowed  to  retain  a  greater 
portion  of  any  earned  income. 

4.  The  federal  government  is  asked  to  assume  a  larger  portion  of  welfare 
costs.  Municipal  governments  should  be  relieved  from  this  obligation  entirely. 
Elimination  by  Congress  of  a  1967  welfare  freeze,  scheduled  to  go  into  effect 
July,  1968,  is  vigorously  urged  in  the  Report.  It  is  argued  that  the  federal 
government  should  not,  by  restricting  applicants,  pass  the  financial  burden  to 
the  states  and  localities. 

5.  Congress  is  asked  to  separate  the  administration  of  AFDC  from  the 
general  assistance  to  aid  the  aged  and  physically  handicapped.  The  Com- 
mission suggests  that  legislation  be  \vritten  to  locate  the  latter  assistance  pro- 
grams in  the  Social  Security  Administration. 

6.  Federal  grants  are  requested  for  special  neighborhood  welfare  centers 

and  diagnostic  clinics.  Congress  is  called  upon  to  aid  the  decentralization  of 
sen-ices  and  programs.  Many  now  under  the  Office  of  Economic  Opportunity 
and  the  Department  of  Housing  and  Urban  Development  should  be  combined 
to  create  multipurpose  neighborhood  centers.  Additionally,  funds  should  be 
set  aside  to  underwrite  family  planning  programs. 

7.  The  Commission  invites  congressional  consideration  of  a  system  of 
income  supplements  that  would  entitle  eveiyone  to  a  "minimal  standard  of 
decent  living."  The  necessity  of  eligibility  requirements  would  thus  be 
eliminated.  The  Commission  insists  that  there  is  no  better  means  of  breaking 
the  circle  of  poverty  and  ending  dependence  on  welfaie.  Aside  from  recog- 
nizing the  considerable  costs  of  a  basic  family  allowance,  the  Report  makes 
no  effort  to  spell  out  the  details  of  such  a  proposal.  Legislators  are  asked, 
however,  to  look  for  direction  to  the  Model  Cities  Program  and  studies  of  the 
Commission  on  Income  Maintenance  Programs. 

In  sum,  the  Commission  outlines  for  Congress  and  the  Executive  branch  a 
dual  set  of  goals  on  welfare;  some  require  only  modest  alterations  in  prevail- 
ing practices;  others  presuppose  radical  departures  in  policy.  Overall,  the 
Commissioners  are  anxious  to  have  the  federal  government  assume  increased 
responsibilities  for  all  welfare  pa)ments  and  to  extend  the  coverage  to  larger 
numbers  of  people.  Beyond  new  legislation.  Congress  is  expected  to  prod 
federal  administrators  and  policy-makers  in  the  states. 

The  tenor  of  the  congressional  reaction  to  the  preceding  recommendations 
is  best  revealed  by  a  survey  of  the  day-to-day  business  of  the  Congress.  Ac- 
cordingly, in  this  section  ^ve  catalogue  and  annotate  Senate  and  House  com- 
mittee deliberations  and  floor  actions  on  emplo\-ment  and  welfare  policy  in 
the  months  following  the  Report.  Our  information  comes  mainly  from  the 
Congressional  Quarterly,  Weekly  Reports  for  the  period  beginning  March  1, 
1968,  and  extending  through  the  31st  of  September,  1969.  This  review  of 
events  is  by  no  means  fully  comprehensive.  Very  likely,  Congressional  Quar- 
terly chose  not  to  report  every  floor  and  committee  action  of  possible  inclusion 
here.  Also,  in  perusing  the  Weekly  Reports,  we  may  have  inadvertently  passed 
over  floor  votes,  hearings,  or  reports  that  belong  in  our  review.  Even  so,  this 
accounting  of  the  fate  of  the  Commission's  proposals  in  sessions  of  the  90th 
and  91st  Congresses  should  readily  identify  the  focus  and  the  depth  of  con- 
gressional interest  in  emplo)ment  and  welfare  problems. 

A.  Employment :    Floor  Action 

1.  Federal  assistance  for  state  vocational  rehabilitation  programs  for  the 
disadvantaged.  Final  approval  in  both  houses  of  a  1.4  billion  appropria- 
tion for  fiscal  years  1969-71,  first  week  of  August,  1968. 

2.  Senate  rejection  of  resolution  asking  the  Nixon  Administration  to  defer 
the  closing  of  59  Job  Corps  centers,  May  13,  1969. 

B.  Employment :    Committee  Action 

1.  Hearings  held  on  job  opportunities  for  the  poor.  Consideration  of  two 
bills  to  authorize  2.8  billion  for  a  t^\o-year  emergency  program.  Bills  not 
supported  by  the  Johnson  Administration.  Senate  Labor  and  Public  Wel- 
fare Committee,  April  1,  3,  and  5,  1968.  Hearings  suspended  in  the  House. 

2.  Senate  Labor  and  Public  Welfare  Committee  reported  a  bill  to 
strengthen  the  authority  of  the  Equal  Emplo^-ment  Opportunities  Com- 
mission to  act  against  discrimination  by  employees  or  unions,  May  8,  1968. 

3.  House  Education  and  Labor  Committee  reported  a  bill  to  extend  the 
basic  provision  of  the  Manpower  Development  and  Training  Act  of  1962, 
June  27,  1968.  Similar  action  by  the  Senate  L.  and  P.W.  Committee, 
July  20,  1968.  Neither  bills  were  as  comprehensive  as  those  urged  by  the 
Kemer  Commission.  The  Johnson  Administration  had  requested  simple 
extension  of  the  1962  Act. 

4.  Report  of  the  Joint  Economic  Committee  on  urban  manpower  and  em- 
ployment, based  directly  on  the  recommendations  of  the  Kemer  Report. 
Hearings  held  May  28,  29,  June  4,  5,  and  6,  1968.  The  Joint  Committee 
broadly  agreed  with  the  Kemer  recommendations,  but  offered  no  specific 
legislation  to  implement  such  goals  as  job  training,  less  job  discrimination, 
and  the  revitalization  of  central  cities. 

Informal  hearings  conducted  by  several  major  city  congressmen  to  hear 
charges  of  job  discrimination  in  the  Civil  Service  and  by  federal  con- 
tractors, December  3-5,  1968. 

6.  Hearings  held  on  economic  development  of  depressed  areas  by  House 
PubHc  Works  Committee,  April  15-17,  1969. 

7.  Senate  L.  and  P.W.  Committee  asked  for  a  Senate  resolution  request- 
ing the  Nixon  Administration  to  defer  closing  of  Job  Corps  Centers, 
April  28,  1969. 

8.  Hearings  held  by  Senate  Finance  Committee  on  increasing  incentives 
for  industry  to  locate  in  rural  areas,  May  21-23,  1969. 

9.  Hearings  held  on  Small  Business  Administration  loan  policies  in  urban 
areas  by  the  Senate  Select  Committee  on  Small  Business,  June  10-12,  1969. 

10.  Report  issued  by  the  House  and  Senate  Public  Works  Committee  to 
extend  and  expand  the  manpower  development  and  other  programs  of 
the  Appalachia  Regional  Commission,  June  30,  1969. 

11.  Hearings  held  on  migrant  and  seasonal  farm  labor  problems  by  the 
Senate  L.  and  P.W.  Committee,  June  9-10,  July  15-17,  1969. 

C.  Welfare:    Floor  Action 

1.  Approval  given  for  increased  authorization  for  Food  Stamp  program 
through  1970.  Senate,  September  26,  1968.  House,  September  25,  1968. 
Senate  doubled  authorization  for  fiscal  1970,  June  24,  1969. 

2.  Passage  of  appropriation  of  federal  funds  for  work  incentive  program 
for  persons  under  AFDC.  The  same  bill  appropriated  funds  for  the  Office 
of  Economic  Opportunity  below  the  request  of  the  Johnson  Administration. 

3.  House  passed  a  bill  to  establish  a  Presidential  Commission  to  study 
hunger  and  malnutrition  in  the  United  States,  July  15,  1968. 

4.  Authorization  given  for  $9  million  for  fiscal  year  1969  and  $15  million 
in  1970  for  grants  to  public  and  private  health  services  to  agricultural 
migratory  workers.   Action  taken  in  both  houses,  October  1,  1968. 

5.  Amendments  to  Older  Americans  Act  of  1965  passed.  People  over  60 
permitted  to  offer  supportive  services  in  day  care  centers  for  children  from 
poor  families  and  to  assist  in  hospitals  or  homes  for  dependent  or  neglected 
children.  Action  taken  in  both  houses,  October  3,  1968.  Older  Americans 
Act  extended  through  fiscal  1972  in  the  Senate,  August  13,  1969. 

6.  Welfare  freeze  repealed  by  both  houses,  June  30,  1969.  Congress  acted 
in  response  to  pressures  from  state  and  local  government  which  would  have 
assumed  greater  welfare  costs  if  the  freeze  on  new  recipients  went  into 
effect,  as  scheduled,  on  July  1 . 

7.  Passage  of  extension  of  the  deadline  for  states  to  establish  compre- 
hensive health  care  programs  from  1975  to  1977,  June  30,  1969.  On  the 
same  day.  Secretary  of  Health,  Education,  and  Welfare,  Robert  Finch, 
announced  a  reduction  in  the  federal  contribution  to  Medicaid  payment 
to  doctors. 

D.  Welfare:    Committee  Action 

1.  Hearings  conducted  on  food  assistance  programs  for  the  needy  by  the 
House  Education  and  Labor  Committee,  May  21,  1968. 

2.  Hearings  held  on  several  bills  to  extend  and  expand  the  Food  Stamp 
program.  House  Agriculture  Committee,  June  11-13,  1968.  Report  to  ex- 
pand programs,  July  2,  1968.  Testimony  given  on  amendments  to  the 
Food  Stamp  program.  Senate  Agriculture  Committee,  May  22-23,  26,  27, 
1969.  Senate  Agriculture  Committee  rejected  proposal  for  free  stamps, 
July  1,  1969.   House  hearings  held  on  food  stamps,  September  3,  1969. 

3.  A  report  issued  calling  for  income  support  for  the  elderly  and  for 
families  with  unemployable  heads.  A  negative  income  tax  suggested  by 
the  Senate  L.  and  P.W.  Subcommittee  on  Employment,  Manpower,  and 

4.  Hearings  conducted  on  problems  of  hunger  and  malnutrition  by  a 


Senate  Select  Committee  headed  by  Senator  George  McGovern,  January 
8-10,  22,  23,  February  18,  May  7,  July  9-11,  15,  17,  18,  22-24,  25,  28, 
1969.  Committee  Report  on  August  7,  1969. 

5.  Hearings  held  before  the  House  Committee  on  Education  and  Labor  on 
proposals  to  authorize  an  extension  of  programs  under  OEO  Act  of  1964, 
March  24,  April  16-19,  21,  1969.  Committee  consideration  of  Adminis- 
tration's decision  to  close  Job  Corps  centers,  April  14,  1969.  Senate  hear- 
ings by  L.  and  P.W.  Committee  on  OEO  programs,  April  18,  23-25,  May 
8,^1969.  Continued  House  hearings,  April  21-24,  29,  30,  May  1,  5-9,  1969. 
Consideration  given  to  malnutrition  in  House  Committee,  May  21,  23, 
1969.  Nixon  Administration  requested  a  two-year  extension  rather  than 
the  three-  or  five-year  extensions  proposed  by  House  Committee  members. 
House  hearings,  June  2,  4-6,  1969. 

6.  Hearings  held  on  provisions  of  tax  reform  bill  designed  specifically  to 
give  a  greater  tax  break  to  low-income  families,  by  House  Ways  and  Means 
Committee,  April  1,  2,  3,  14,  1969.  On  April  12,  President  Nixon  sent  a 
tax  message  to  Congress  that  proposed  exempting  from  all  federal  in- 
come tax  those  families  (of  four)  with  incomes  under  $3,500  a  year. 

7.  Hearings  conducted  on  medical  costs  and  abuses  by  Senate  Finance 
Committee,  July  1,  2,  1969. 

8.  Hearings  held  on  equal  employment  opportunities  by  Senate  Labor  and 
Public  Welfare  Subcommittee  on  Labor.  Proposals  made  to  strengthen 
the  Equal  Employment  Opportunities  Commission,  August  11,  12,  1969. 

The  preceding  inventory  of  legislative  activity  amply  documents  the  con- 
tinued concern  of  Congress  with  employinent  and  welfare  matters  in  the 
post-Report  period.  The  record  in  fact  indicates  several  committee  studies 
and  hearings  addressed  directly  to  the  Kerner  Report  recommendations.  The 
removal  by  Congress  of  a  freeze  on  welfare  enrollment,  its  action  to  enlarge 
the  food  stamp  program,  and  its  passage  of  legislation  expanding  the  federal 
contribution  to  vocational  rehabilitation  programs  are  in  step  with  the  Com- 
mission proposals,  though  not  necessarily  inspired  by  the  Report.  In  the  areas 
of  education  and  housing,  the  90th  Congress  moved  toward  implementing  the 
Report's  recommendations  by  the  approval  of  higher  education  and  open 
housing  bills.  All  this  notwithstanding,  the  19-month  progress  report  of  the 
Kerner  Commission  in  Congress  is  a  dismal  one.  Only  a  fraction  of  the  Com- 
mission's proposals  received  consideration  on  Capitol  Hill,  and  still  fewer 
found  their  way  into  public  policy.  Such  key  Commission  recommendations  as 
an  intensive  effort  to  upgrade  the  literacy  of  ghetto  residents,  or  the  expansion 

and  reorientation  of  public  housing,  fell  on  totally  deaf  congressional  ears. 
In  sum,  there  is  little  evidence  that  the  Report  charted  new  directions  for 
the  nation's  lawmakers. 

This  curious  species  of  congressional  oversight  admits  to  no  single  set  of 
explanations.  The  callous  indifference  to  the  Report  by  President  Johnson 
unquestionably  dimmed  prospects  for  the  recommendations  in  the  90th  Con- 
gress. A  fuller  explanation  for  the  Report'?,  weak  impact  requires,  however, 
some  examination  of  the  procedures,  the  dominant  values,  and  the  centers 
of  power  within  Congress.  It  is  also  necessary  to  ask  whether  the  release  time 
of  the  Report  in  the  political  climate  of  1968  and  1969  had  not  ruled  out  a 
more  favorable  congressional  response.  Finally,  it  may  be  possible  to  fault  the 
Report  as  a  strategic  document.  We  suspect  that,  by  its  makeup  and  the  task 
assigned  the  Commission,  it  was  a  poor  bet  to  gain  an  early  or  sympathetic 
hearing  in  the  Congress. 

A  significant  feature  of  the  Kerner  Report  is  the  scope  of  its  recommenda- 
tions. The  remarkable  insight  and  thoroughness  of  its  inquiry  into  the  crisis 
of  the  cities  led  to  proposals  on  a  broad  legislative  front.  But  these  requests 
were  addressed  to  an  institution  poorly  equipped  to  deal  with  omnibus  de- 
mands. More  accustomed  to  stop-gap  legislating,  a  departmentalization  of 
effort,  and  incrementalism  in  policy,  the  Congress  could  promise  no  systematic 
treatment  of  the  problems  identified  by  the  Commission.  In  this  respect,  the 
Congress  has  changed  very  little  from  the  late  Nineteenth  Century  when 
Woodrow  Wilson  gained  scholarly  prominence  by  calling  attention  to  the  near 
sovereignty  of  standing  committees  and  the  resulting  absence  of  coordinated 
policy-making.  By  conservative  estimate,  at  least  ten  committees  of  the  90th 
Congress  could  claim  jurisdiction  over  legislation  suggested  by  the  Kerner 
Report.  At  best,  the  Commission  could  hope  for  a  willingness  to  weigh  its 
findings  by  pivotal  members  of  the  House  and  Senate. 

Aside  from  an  undistinguished  report  by  the  Joint  Economic  Committee, 
testimony  on  hunger  and  malnutrition  before  a  Select  Senate  Committee,  and 
several  hearings  conducted  by  the  Senate  Labor  and  Public  Welfare  Commit- 
tee, the  committees  of  both  houses  of  Congress  were  largely  oblivious  to  the 
Commission's  Report.  Committee  chairmen  were,  on  the  whole,  conspicuous 
in  their  coolness  toward  the  Report,  and  the  elected  leaders  of  Congress  were 
apparently  no  more  inclined  to  take  cues  from  the  Kerner  proposals.  The  11- 
man  Commission  had  included  five  incumbent  members  of  Congress  (and 
former  Congressman  John  Lindsay)  ;  yet  none  occupied  a  position  of  wide 
legislative  influence  on  Capitol  Hill.  None  chaired  either  a  committee  or  a 
subcommittee,  and  none  held  a  congressional  party  leadership  post.  Represen- 
tative William  McCuUoch,  ranking  Republican  on  the  Judiciary  Committee, 
was  alone  in  a  position  to  claim  extended  experience  shaping  major  domestic 


The  seniority  leadership  of  Congress  had  strong  political  motives  for  avoid- 
ing close  identification  with  the  Commission's  ideas.  Nearly  all  the  chairmen 
in  the  House  are  elected  from  Southern  or  equally  safe  enclaves  in  major 
Northern  cities.  The  Commission's  best  publicized  conclusion,  that  white 
racism  was  at  the  root  of  the  nation's  urban  racial  tensions,  was  not  tailored  to 
win  over  legislators  of  either  category.  Metropolitan  area  Democrats  from 
racially  insulated  white  districts  might  be  prepared  to  vote  for  Commission- 
inspired  legislation,  but  many  were  clearly  hesitant  to  endorse  a  Report  that 
their  constituents  might  interpret  as  justifying  the  violence  of  Newark  and 
Detroit.  Southern  chairmen  would  be  obliged  to  accept  the  indictment  that 
se\'eral  Southern  states  had  failed  to  meet  their  full  responsibility  for  educa- 
tional opportunities  and  social  services.  More  than  one  Kemer  recommenda- 
tion would  have  the  effect  of  coercing  state  participation  in  federally  sup- 
ported programs. 

More  straightforward  motives  undercut  support  for  the  Report  among 
many  rank  and  file  congressmen.  The  Kerner  recommendations  were  easily 
viewed  as  class  legislation.  Namely,  black  America  was  designated  as  the 
prime,  or  at  least  the  most  visible,  recipient  of  any  federal  generosity.  The 
Commission's  admonition  that  the  crisis  of  the  cities  would  intensify  in  the 
face  of  national  inaction  was  viewed  by  some  legislators  as  a  form  of  black- 
mail against  the  middle-class  white  taxpayer.  In  contrast  to  earlier  efforts  on 
behalf  of  blacks,  when  the  acceptance  of  directives  by  southern  officials  defined 
progress,  civil  rights  in  the  late  1960's  were  more  expensively  purchased.  The 
second  generation  of  rights  legislation  in  Congress  was  necessarily  more  eco- 
nomic and  social  than  political,  and  the  North  would  carry  most  of  the  burden. 
The  anti-inflationary  mood  that  reached  the  Congress  by  1968  armed  many 
lawmakers  with  welcomed  justification  for  deferring  new  programs  for  the 
poor  and  underemployed.  In  these  circumstances.  Great  Society  legislation 
was  also  threatened. 

In  great  measure  the  legislative  prescriptions  offered  by  the  Commission 
belong  to  a  category  of  policy  temperamentally  disturbing  for  the  Congress. 
The  nation's  lawmakers  prefer  legislation  whose  benefits  are  largely  calculable. 
Whereas  subsidies  to  industry  or  for  farm  commodities  can  usually  be  evaluated 
against  the  intended  results,  programs  for  the  underprivileged  typically  defy 
direct  measurement.  Experience  with  social  welfare  programs  have  apparently 
convinced  legislators  that,  much  like  aid  to  developing  nations,  evidence  of 
accomplishments  is  usually  elusive.  When,  for  example,  is  the  poverty  cycle 
broken  and  when  is  an  acceptable  level  of  adequate  housing  attained?  Even 
some  of  the  more  obvious  yardsticks,  such  as  employment  figures,  often  turn 
out  to  be  misleading.  As  a  result,  the  Congress  finds  it  difficult  to  remain 
committed  to  heavy  expenditures  for  urban  programs  over  an  extended  period 
of  time.    Disappointments  with  several  Great  Society  programs  had  already 


eroded  congressional  support.  To  be  sure,  the  Kerner  Report  recommenda- 
tions could  always  be  measured  by  their  contribution  to  reducing  the  potential 
for  civil  disorders.  But  for  the  present,  Congress  was  more  likely  to  opt  for  a 
less  expensive  approach  to  stemming  riots.  It  is  hardly  surprising,  then,  that 
the  most  noteworthy  response  of  Congress  to  the  "hot"  summer  of  1967  was  to 
pass  the  Crime  Control  Act  of  1968. 

The  Commission's  congressional  score  card  might  conceivably  have  been 
improved  by  a  more  calculated  legislative  strategy.  The  Report,  for  example, 
gives  little  recognition  of  the  realities  of  gaining  majorities  in  Congress  for 
individual  recommendations.  Requests  that  involve  only  the  extension  or 
expansion  of  existing  programs  are  not  distinguished  from  policies  encom- 
passing more  radical  innovations.  Increased  funding  for  the  rent  supplement 
program  or  a  provision  for  below-market  interest  rates  to  stimulate  low-rent 
housing  are  recommended  in  the  same  fashion  as  a  call  for  a  redirection  of 
urban  renewal  and  public  housing  policies.  Though  all  are  within  the  com- 
petence of  the  Congress,  the  Report  takes  no  account  of  the  probable  matura- 
tion time  required  before  some  goals  are  accepted  by  the  Congress  and  the 
public.  Nor  does  the  Report  bother,  in  most  cases,  to  specify  the  kind  of  legis- 
lation necessary  to  implement  its  more  far-reaching  objectives.  The  Commis- 
sion thus  failed  to  convey  the  real  separability  of  proposals  or  a  sense  of 
priority  among  them.  To  these  self-imposed  handicaps,  must  be  added  the 
unfortunate,  though  unavoidable,  release  time  of  the  Report.  The  legislative 
schedule  of  Congress  was  already  well  set  by  March  1 .  Worse  yet,  the  recom- 
mendations came  to  a  Congress  seeking  to  adjourn  early  for  the  fall  presi- 
dential campaign.  Only  a  sense  of  high  urgency  conveyed  from  the  White 
House  could  perhaps  have  commanded  greater  attention  among  congressmen 
for  the  Report. 

To  a  contemporary  Congress  that  waits  for  the  President  to  fill  much  of 
its  legislative  agenda,  Lyndon  Johnson's  icy  silence  was  decisive.  Unless  a 
President  is  prepared  to  engage  his  prestige  and  resources  in  the  Congress, 
little  important  domestic  legislation  is  likely  to  clear  the  plentiful  congressional 
hurdles.  Certainly,  then,  while  Johnson  remained  President,  it  was  doubtful 
that  the  Commission  work  would  become  a  focal  point  of  legislation.  Evi- 
dently, both  the  rhetoric  of  the  Kerner  Commission  Report  and  a  number  of 
its  recommendations  were  embarrassing  to  the  Administration.  Johnson  had 
directed  the  bipartisan  Commission:  "Let  your  search  be  free.  ...  As  best  you 
can  find  the  truth  and  express  it  in  your  report."  Yet  the  President  apparently 
did  not  anticipate  a  report  that  would  reach  such  disturbing  conclusions.  The 
Commission  had,  after  all,  found  that  national  and  local  leadership  failed  to 
come  to  grips  with  the  causes  of  urban  tensions.  Despite  the  sincerity  of 
Lyndon  Johnson's  fight  for  federal  civil  rights  legislation  and  antipoverty 
programs,  America's  black  and  white  society  were  observed  as  further  polar- 


izing.  The  batteiy  of  Commission  recommendations  for  national  action  in 
many  instances  went  far  beyond  similar  proposals  introduced  to  Congress  by 
the  Johnson  Administration.  To  now  champion  a  more  ambitious  and  mili- 
tant set  of  proposals  was  as  risky  as  it  was  impractical.  Administration  endorse- 
ment of  a  report  critical  of  the  white  middle  class  was  doubtful  strategy  in  an 
election  year  when  George  Wallace  threatened  to  draw  away  resentful  Demo- 
cratic voters.  The  Administration  also  stood  to  endanger  its  own  modest 
legislative  program  if  it  distracted  Congress  with  the  Report.  The  composition 
and  mood  of  Congress  had  changed  markedly  since  1965-66.  The  strengthened 
conseivative  coalition  in  the  House  was  certain  to  deny  the  Administration  any 
legislative  kudos. 

By  March,  1968,  Viet  Nam  and  not  the  streets  of  Newark  or  Detroit 
occupied  center  stage  for  the  President  and  most  other  white  Americans. 
Eugene  McCarthy's  New  Hampshire  performance  was  still  a  stinging  memory 
for  Johnson,  and  Robert  Kennedy  was  gaining  momentum  as  a  challenger 
for  the  Democratic  nomination.  The  senators'  opposition  to  Johnson's  war 
policies  was  a  token  of  the  shift  of  militant  antiwar  sentiment  from  the  New 
Left  to  the  broad  Liberal  Establishment.  Significantly,  it  was  spokesmen  of 
the  Democrats'  Liberal  wing  who  led  the  praises  for  the  Kerner  Report  early 
in  March.  Whatever  the  President's  renomination  plans,  he  clearly  was  of  no 
mind  to  put  aside  foreign  policy  differences  with  his  critics  in  order  to  join 
hands  in  a  renewed  crusade  against  poverty  and  injustice. 

Once  Johnson  on  March  31  indicated  his  intention  not  to  seek  renomina- 
tion, he  also  abdicated  any  possible  future  role  in  fostering  the  Kerner  re- 
commendations in  Congress.  With  a  successor  only  ten  months  away,  there 
was  little  enthusiasm  among  legislators,  even  friends  of  the  Report,  for  im- 
mediate consideration  of  specific  Commission  requests.  The  new  President 
would  be  given  an  opportunity  to  shape  his  requests.  Plainly,  the  Report 
would  experience  a  strong  revival  if  Robert  Kennedy  were  elected  that  Novem- 
ber. Many  legislators  were  also  content  to  defer  action  until  the  election  re- 
sults gave  some  sense  of  public  mood  in  dealing  with  urban  violence. 

The  comparatively  "cool"  ghetto  summer  of  1968  (and  then  1969) 
lessened  the  sense  of  urgency  the  Commission  had  tried  to  convey  in  its 
Report.  The  largely  pacified  black  communities  strengthened  arguments  that 
violence  could  be  contained  by  more  vigorous  and  intelligent  law  enforce- 
ment. Whatever  the  truth  to  observations  that  black-white  relations  were 
continuing  to  deteriorate,  black  leaders  appeared  anxious  to  avoid  further 
confrontation  of  the  sort  that  gutted  black  neighborhoods  in  Washington, 
D.C.,  Detroit,  and  Watts.  These  developments,  in  effect,  removed  the  sense 
of  crisis  that  so  often  leads  the  Congress  to  override  its  natural  biases  against 
upsetting  the  status  quo.  The  violence  that  did  occur  in  1968  and  1969  took 
the  form  of  dramatic  individual  acts  or  was  centered  on  college  campuses. 

Neither  class  of  event  was  likely  or  hasten  the  attention  of  Congress  to  educa- 
tion, employment,  housing,  and  welfare  policies  envisioned  by  the  Kemer 

Little  that  occurred  in  the  1968  election  campaign  gave  notice  that  the 
Report  would  become  a  touchstone  for  domestic  policies  in  the  91st  Congress. 
The  Republican  platform  failed  to  mention  either  the  Kemer  Commission  or 
the  OEO  by  name.  At  times,  candidate  Hubert  Humphrey  alluded  to  the 
Report's  recommendations,  but  Richard  Nixon  as  a  campaigner  ignored  the 
Report.  Few  congressional  candidates,  moreover,  featured  an  endorsement 
of  the  Commission's  work  in  their  campaigns.  The  national  results,  in  them- 
selves, predicted  a  cool  reception  for  the  Report  in  the  next  Congress.  The 
election  strengthened  the  ranks  of  conservative  Republicans,  especially  in  the 
House;  and  continued  Democratic  control  of  both  houses  assured  no  change 
of  seniority  leadership.  Equally  important,  since  majorities  in  the  nation's 
major  cities  had  rejected  the  Republican  ticket,  Nixon  incurred  no  election 
debts  to  urban  blacks.  And  a  post-election  as  well  as  a  pre-election  "Southern 
strategy"  militated  against  efforts  to  conciliate  big-city  blacks. 

President  Nixon's  first  seven  months  in  office  were  notable  for  his  few 
requests  to  Congress  for  new  domestic  programs.  Advocates  of  the  Commis- 
sion's Report  were  instead  engaged  in  several  defensive  battles.  For  high  on 
the  White  House's  list  of  objectives  was  the  stripping  of  all  operating  re- 
sponsibilities from  the  Office  of  Economic  Opportunity  and  the  transfer  of 
these  functions  to  old-line  departments.  More  immediately,  some  programs, 
particularly  the  legal  service  to  the  poor,  were  to  be  placed  under  the  veto 
of  state  governors.  On  the  education  front,  the  Nixon  Administration  sought, 
until  blocked  by  the  Supreme  Court,  to  delay  Southern  school  desegregation 
deadlines.  Conser\'ative  monetary  policies  and  a  trim  domestic  budget  were 
signs  that  the  President  hoped  to  cut  back  the  funding  on  many  current 
poverty  programs.  The  Administration's  decision  to  fight  inflation  with  in- 
creased unemployment  also  carried  a  rejection  of  the  Commission's  proposals. 
The  President's  economic  advisors  were  apparently  prepared  to  accept  the 
lay-off  of  newly  trained  or  marginally  employed  blacks.  Against  this  back- 
ground, the  Administration  brought  about  a  drastic  reduction  of  Job  Corps 
centers.  To  some  of  these  policies  the  Congress  gave  its  tacit  consent;  for 
others  its  active  approval  was  required;  in  a  few  instances  it  refused  to  go 

On  the  brighter  side  of  the  ledger,  several  bills  that  followed  the  spirit  if 
not  exactly  the  letter  of  the  Kemer  recommendations  seemed  likely  of  passage 
by  the  end  of  the  first  session  of  the  91st  Congress.  Interestingly,  nearly  all 
had  the  backing  of  the  Nixon  Administration.  Legislation  to  expand  the  bene- 
fits and  coverage  of  employment  insurance  cleared  the  House  in  mid-Novem- 
ber.   The  House  Labor  and  Education  Committee  reported  a  bill  in  early 


November,  already  passed  by  the  Senate,  to  extend  programs  under  the  Eco- 
nomic Opportunity  Act  of  1964.  By  late  October  the  House  had  passed  by  a 
lopsided  vote  a  housing  and  urban  development  bill  that  continued  funding 
for  urban  renewal  and  Model  Cities.  A  more  generous  Senate  version,  passed 
earlier  in  the  month,  also  included  rent  supplement  funding  and  a  new  pro- 
gram of  public  housing  rental  assistance.  By  December  both  houses  ^vere  also 
well  on  their  way  toward  agreement  on  a  comprehensive  tax  reform  bill  that 
would  remove  many  low-income  families  from  the  federal  tax  rolls.  The 
House  Ways  and  Means  Committee  began  hearings  in  November  on  legis- 
lation to  hike  social  security  benefits.  In  other  testimony  before  this  Commit- 
tee, a  radically  new  welfare  proposal  came  under  consideration.  More  than 
any  other  legislation  before  the  91st  Congress,  this  proposal  contained  the 
kind  of  full  commitment  envisioned  by  the  Kemer  Commission. 

On  August  2,  1969,  President  Nixon  unveiled  his  long-heralded  welfare 
report.  In  its  broad  outlook  the  President's  proposed  revision  of  the  nation's 
welfare  system  bore  some  resemblance  to  the  Kemer  recommendations.  The 
Nixon  plan  recognized  the  need  to  establish  a  minimum  family  assistance 
for  all  Americans.  Additionally,  it  encouraged  emplo\-ment  by  providing  a 
sliding  scale  of  supplementary'  income  for  the  working  poor.  The  President's 
program  stressed  the  need  to  lighten  the  financial  burden  now  weighing  so 
heavily  on  the  states  and  localities  and,  accordingly.  Congress  was  asked  for 
an  additional  $4  billion  federal  expenditure  on  welfare.  The  Administration 
and  Commission  plans  thus  almost  converge  on  the  idea  that  a  thorough 
overhaul  of  the  welfare  system  should  begin  with  a  uniform  national  standard 
of  eligibility. 

In  some  significant  respects,  however,  the  Nixon  plan  clearly  departs 
from  the  Kemer  recommendations.  Constrained  by  their  budget,  the  Ad- 
ministration sets  an  income  floor  at  $1,600  for  a  family  of  four,  or  less  than 
half  of  the  amount  suggested  by  the  Commission.  No  consideration  is  made, 
moreover,  for  geographic  variations  in  cost  of  living,  except  as  the  states  may 
provide  in  their  contribution.  Mothers  of  school-aged  children  are  obliged, 
under  the  Administration  proposal,  to  accept  training  or  employment  or 
jeopardize  all  benefits.  To  accomplish  this,  the  NLxon  plan  seeks  additional 
child  day  care  centers  and  job  training  programs  to  be  administered  \vholIy 
by  the  states  and  localities.  Meanwhile,  the  Office  of  Economic  Opportunity 
would  be  reduced  in  authorit)'  to  a  "laboratory  agency,"  limited  to  the  re- 
search of  new  ideas  to  eliminate  poverty.  Also  attached  to  the  welfare  pro- 
posal is  the  Administration's  "New  Federalism,"  a  revenue-sharing  plan  de- 
signed to  furnish  the  states  block  grants  with  no  strings  attached. 

The  Nbcon  welfare  proposals  face  an  uncertain  future  in  the  Congress. 
Initial  congressional  reaction  was  generally  supportive.  Yet  in  the  weeks 
and  months  since  the  President's  speech,  the  sources  of  opposition  and  the 

grounds  for  objection  have  become  more  readily  identified.  Among  the  first 
to  demur  on  the  Nixon  plan  were  the  welfare  rights  organizations  from  the 
larger  industrial  states.  They  point  out,  and  their  congressmen  and  senators 
have  taken  up  the  complaint,  that  in  hard  cash  terms  the  new  plan  sets 
basic  allotments  that  are  well  below  current  monthly  benefits.  For  the  ghetto 
dweller  in  the  North  it  will  be  of  small  improvement  that  the  federal  contri- 
bution to  the  state  will  increase  slightly  if  his  own  benefits  remain  the  same 
and  he  faces  coercive  pressures  to  accept  a  job.  Only  in  states  with  low  aver- 
age monthly  payments  will  the  federal  minimum  assistance  substantially  im- 
prove the  lot  of  the  poor.  In  a  final  vote,  however,  most  major  city  legislators 
may  be  expected  to  go  along  with  the  revisions,  even  at  the  presently  proposed 
level  of  minimum  family  assistance.  Once  on  the  books  and  with  the  prin- 
ciple of  federal  responsibility  firmly  established,  these  congressmen  can  work 
to  revise  the  formula  for  better  treatment  of  the  urban  North. 

Even  while  the  largest  increase  in  federal  benefits  would  go  to  the  South, 
Southern  Democratic  members  of  Congress  cannot  be  counted  as  sure  votes 
for  the  Nixon  plan.  Many  will  find  it  highly  unpopular  to  vote  large  sub- 
sidies to  rural  blacks.  Furthermore,  any  substantial  improvement  in  the  living 
standard  of  these  blacks  poses  a  direct  threat  to  traditional  Democratic  poli- 
tical ascendancy  in  many  areas  of  the  South.  To  move  impoverished  blacks 
away  from  the  subsistence  level  is  to  further  undermine  the  politics  of  def- 
erence and  fear  that  for  so  long  kept  blacks  from  the  polls  and  out  of  the 
social  life  of  their  community.  Southern  Republican  politicians  might  wel- 
come action  that  could  conceivably  drive  white  Southern  voters  into  the  Re- 
publican party.  Still,  they  may  ponder  whether  aid  to  the  Southern  blacks 
might  not  revive  a  formidable  loyalist  Democratic  party  of  blacks  and  whites. 

Republican  loyalists  in  the  Congress  would  seem  to  be  the  front  line  of 
support  for  the  Administration's  welfare  proposals.  Yet  the  strong  economy- 
mindedness  of  Republican  legislators  may  lead  some  of  them  into  the  opposi- 
tion camp.  These  legislators  will  probably  stand  with  the  Administration 
under  only  two  conditions.  The  first  is  that  the  revenue-sharing  plan  remain 
a  feature  of  the  welfare  legislation  shaped  in  Congress.  The  Administration 
itself  could  defer  this  program  should,  for  example,  military  spending  continue 
to  make  heavy  demands  on  the  federal  budget.  A  second  contingency  rests 
with  the  legislative  leadership  skills  of  the  President  which,  until  now,  have  not 
been  impressive.  Unless  he  is  as  convincing  to  Congress  in  1970  as  he  was  to 
the  American  public  in  August  of  1968,  many  Republican  congressmen  and 
senators  will  prefer  to  reduce  and  not  expand  welfare  coverage.  The  Presi- 
dent's most  formidable  task  will  be  to  persuade  his  fellow  partisans  that  un- 
less the  current  tensions  of  the  welfare  system  are  checked,  the  repercussions 
may  be  felt  well  beyond  the  ghettos  and  depressed  naral  areas. 

It  is  obviously  too  premature  for  a  final  evaluation  of  the  Kerner  Report 


in  Congress.  The  19-month  progress  sheet  \vas  disappointing,  but  there  was 
little  reason  to  believe  that  the  legislative  process  could  be  induced  to  move 
with  greater  dispatch.  The  apparent  willingness  of  the  91st  Congress  to  ex- 
periment with  urban  housing  programs,  its  insistence  that  antipoverty  pro- 
grams be  sustained,  and  its  hard  look  at  welfare  reform  give  some  cause  for 
optimism.  All  the  same,  it  seems  safe  to  conclude  that  the  ambitious  attack 
on  urban  problems  outlined  in  the  Report  is  far  from  realization.  The  Report 
will,  in  all  likelihood,  be  a  poor  reference  to  legislation  in  the  1970's.  The 
lasting  effect  of  the  Commission's  work  may  be  its  documentation  of  the  vio- 
lent events  of  1967  and  its  discussions  of  their  origins.  In  a  search  for  solu- 
tions, however,  the  Report  has  probably  kept  alive  the  idea  that  these  prob- 
lems can  yield  to  our  will  and  ingenuity,  and  that  our  system  of  government 
has  the  capacity  to  resolve  them.  This  contribution  may  turn  out  to  be  a 
notable  legacy. 



The  future  of  race  relations  in  the  United  States  is  problematic.  The  Na- 
tional Advisory  Commission  on  Civil  Disorders  (the  Kemer  Commission) 
described  a  society  increasingly  divided  into  two  parts,  separate  and  unequal. 
The  black  portion  of  this  society,  no  longer  accepting  either  the  justice  or  the 
inevitability  of  its  condition,  is  likely  to  exhibit  mounting  impatience,  aliena- 
tion, and  in  its  militants,  particularly  its  militant  young,  a  resort  to  measures 
of  desperation.  Whites,  alarmed  at  black  and  white  youth,  particularly  cam- 
pus confrontation  tactics,  and  well-nigh  panicked  by  fear  of  mounting  street 
crime,  are  more  and  more  inclined  to  turn  from  moderate  and  civil  libertarian 
solutions  to  police  measures  that  they  hope  may  restore  their  sense  of  security 
and  uphold  conventional  values.  Neither  blacks  nor  whites  seem  to  have 
reached  the  point  of  no  return.   But  the  drift  course  seems  ominous. 

The  Kemer  Commission  called  for  a  massive  program  of  government 
action  to  reverse  the  slide  into  separate  hostile  societies  which  its  Report 
documented.  Urban  America,  Inc.,  and  the  Urban  Coalition  produced  a 
follow-up  report  entitled.  One  Year  Later,  An  Assessment  of  the  Nation's 
Response  to  the  Crisis  Described  by  the  National  Advisory  Commission  on 
Civil  Disorders.  This  report  documents  that  not  only  President  Johnson,  who 
appointed  the  Kerner  Commission,  but  the  nation  and  the  subsequent  Ad- 
ministration have  failed  to  take  it  seriously.  While  the  Kemer  Commission's 
Report  has  sold  many  volumes  and  had  a  good  press,  it  has  failed  to  set  in 
motion  sustained  political  action  of  a  character  at  all  commensurate  with  the 
gravity  of  the  nation's  peril  which  the  Report  recites  or  the  magnitude  of 
the  measures  the  Report  finds  necessary  to  meet  that  peril.  The  conduct  of 
the  Commission,  and  perhaps  to  a  lesser  extent  the  Commission's  staff  sub- 
sequent to  the  issuance  of  the  Report,  seems  peculiarly  uncalculated  to  con- 
vince their  apathetic  countrymen  of  the  Commission's  serious  conviction  of 
the  gravity  of  the  country's  and  their  own  danger.  In  this  the  Kerner  Com- 
mission and  its  Report  do  not  differ  from  a  tradition  of  government  report- 

With  much  that  is  sound  and  highly  valuable,  though  by  no  means  new 
in  the  Report,  what  emerged  to  the  public  as  its  essential  message  and  diagnosis 
was  "white  racism"  as  the  cause  of  the  evil  and  the  cancer  whose  removal  was 


a  condition  precedent  to  the  curing  of  the  ills  of  a  "sick"  society.  There  is  a 
great  popular  attraction  to  diagnosing  social  problems  as  being  due  to  sin 
and  human  wickedness.  It  has  enormous  appeal  to  the  theologically  inclined 
and  the  militant  young.  To  proclaim  wickedness  and  cast  out  devils  is  an 
ancient  technology.  We  have  used  it  with  plagues,  droughts,  and  even  as  late 
as  1929  with  business  depressions.  However  satisfying  to  those  who  get  their 
kicks  out  of  blame-placing  or  guilt  feelings,  it  is  a  poor  substitute  for  a  com- 
petent social  science.  It  is  all  too  likely  to  lead  to  useless  wallowing  in  guilt 
and  moralizing  instead  of  effective  social  action. 

Tom  Wicker,  in  his  introduction  to  the  New  York  Times  edition  of  the 
Kerner  Report,  says,  "This  report  can  only  provide,  as  its  profoundly  dis- 
turbed authors  concede,  'an  honest  beginning'  on  a  task  that  beggars  any 
other  planned  social  evolution  known  to  human  history."  Neither  Wicker  nor 
the  Commission  suggests  the  political  means  by  which  this  planned  social 
evolution  is  to  be  achieved.  This  is  another  characteristic  of  report-writing, 
to  call  for  programs  that  admittedly  require  revolutionary  change  without 
facing  up  to  the  political  feasibility  of  such  change.  In  fact.  Wicker  sees  the 
political  problem  as  a  vicious  circle  in  which  you  have  to  get  rid  of  "white 
racism"  to  have  the  program  and  you  have  to  have  the  program  to  get  rid 
of  "white  racism."  While  Wicker  concedes,  with  President  Kennedy,  that  a 
journey  of  a  thousand  miles  begins  with  one  step,  the  concentration  on  the 
thousand  miles  is  likely  to  make  one  or  even  quite  a  few  steps  seem  so  slight  as 
to  be  scarcely  worth  taking.  There  is  a  well-nigh  irresistible  tendency  to 
depreciate  advances  that  are  quite  substantial  in  terms  of  past  performances 
of  the  economy  by  measuring  them  against  what  may  be  Utopian  yardsticks. 
As  the  A.  F.  of  L.  and  C.  I.  O.  point  out  in  their  publication,  The  National 
Economy  1969,  "The  unemployment  rate  for  nonwhite  adult  men  fell  from 
9.6  per  cent  in  1960  to  3.9  per  cent  in  1968."  Again  they  show  that  "the 
median  income  on  nonwhite  families  rose  from  $3,233  in  1960  to  $5,141  in 
1967,  the  most  recent  available  information  —  up  from  55  per  cent  of  the 
median  income  of  white  families  in  1960  to  62  per  cent  in  1967.  A  substantial 
gap  in  family  incomes,  but  it  was  narrowing." 

If  one  looks  at  the  Labor  Department  figures  that  make  it  appear  "that 
it  requires  well  over  $9,000  a  year  to  maintain  a  four-person  family  at  merely 
a  modest  standard  of  living,  with  few  luxuries  in  urban  areas,"  this  does  not 
seem  much  to  brag  about.  However,  if  we  note  that  "the  average  non- 
supervisory  worker  in  private  employment  in  June,  1969,  earned  $115.06  — 
with  three  dependents,  his  after-tax  take-home  pay  was  $100.34,"  this  gain 
takes  on  a  significant  comparative  perspective.  Looking  at  desirable  goals  or 
sympathetically  stated  needs,  we  may  be  led  to  unduly  depreciate  accomplish- 
ment or,  what  is  even  more  dangerous,  to  direct  our  attention  away  from 
practical  measures  because  of  their  apparent  inability  to  produce  Utopian 


ends.  The  problem  of  stating  goals  in  terms  of  needs  rather  than  in  terms 
of  practically  attainable  objectives  is  well  shown  by  Anthony  Downs  in  his 
essay,  "Moving  Toward  Realistic  Housing  Goals,"  contained  in  the  Brookings 
Institution's  volume.  Agenda  for  the  Nation.  Downs  makes  the  point  forcefully 
that  the  Johnson  housing  goals  of  26  million  units  in  ten  years,  while  justified 
in  terms  of  needs,  are  radically  unfeasible  unless  we  are  prepared  to  devote  as 
much  energy  to  their  attainment  as  we  did  to  winning  World  War  II.  As 
Downs  argues,  the  unrealism  of  these  goals  is  likely  to  lead  to  cynicism  and 
frustration  on  the  part  of  those  taking  them  seriously.  Housing  spokesmen, 
ho^\•ever,  will  say  you  have  to  radically  o\-erstate  goals  to  get  anything.  One 

Herman  Miller,  in  his  Rich  Man  Poor  Man,  pointed  out  the  fallacy  of 
those  who,  like  Arthur  Burns,  had  proclaimed  a  successful  revolution  in 
which  poverty  had  been  banished  from  American  society.  However,  while 
Miller  showed  that  Bums'  revolution  had  expired  some  twenty  or  more  years 
since,  in  the  Eisenhower  years,  he  made  it  clear  that  World  War  II  and  the 
Korean  War  had  been  the  most  successful  years  of  Negro  advance  that  we 
have  seen  and  that  the  stagnation  of  the  nation's  growth  in  the  Eisenhower 
epoch  had  been  a  disaster  to  Negroes.  In  some  ways,  since  we  should  have 
known  better  than  to  permit  it,  it  was  even  worse  than  the  catastrophe  of  the 
Great  Depression.  The  lesson  of  World  War  II,  the  Korean  War,  and  the 
Eisenho^\■er  years  needs  to  be  emphasized:  a  sustained  high  level  of  growth 
with  a  demand  for  labor  on  the  part  of  employers  that  forces  them  to  re- 
cruit the  hard  core,  to  redesign  jobs,  and  to  upgrade  their  present  employees, 
creating  an  updraft  of  employability,  has  been  our  most  effective  means  of 
bringing  Negroes  into  the  main  stream.  As  Lee  Rainwater  has  maintained, 
only  a  recurring  experience  of  employment  and  its  reinforcement  has  sho\\Ti 
much  capacity  of  breaching  the  culture  of  poverty  and  shaping  its  members 
to  continuous  functioning  in  the  main  stream.  What  this  suggests  is  that  a 
full  emplo)'ment  policy  is  a  major  means  of  making  progress  in  race 

It  is  little  short  of  a  tragedy  that  the  inflation  attendant  on  our  attempting 
to  fight  a  major  \var  with  neither  appropriate  taxes  nor  price  and  wage  con- 
trols has  caused  the  adoption  of  a  set  of  anti-inflation  policies  that  are  likely 
to  set  back  both  our  Negro  employment  and  housing  objectives.  If  it  is 
remembered  that  Negro  unemployment,  even  in  good  times,  is  the  equivalent 
of  what  would  be  regarded  as  unbearable  depression  by  whites,  one  gets  some 
sense  of  the  probable  impact  of  an  anti-inflation  policy  designed  to  damp 
down  the  economy  through  unemplo)ment.  Unless  the  ancient  and  proven 
rule  that  Negroes  are  the  last  to  be  hired  and  the  first  to  be  fired  is 
miraculously  disprov^ed  in  the  present  instance,  current  policies  may  well  do 
incalculable  damage  to  the  efforts  to  increase  Negro  employinent.   This  is  not 

only  a  serious  matter  for  Negro  adults  but  far  more  so  for  Negro  youth.  The 
A.  F.  L.  and  G.  I.  O.  publication,  The  National  Economy  1969,  points  out 
that  "the  unemployment  rate  among  the  rapidly  growing  number  of  non- 
white  teenagers  was  25  per  cent  in  1968  —  slightly  worse  than  in  1960."  This 
is  precisely  the  group  from  which  many  of  the  rioters  were  recruited  and  from 
which  many  of  the  militants  and  their  support  are  drawn.  Whatever  one 
may  think  of  the  Cloward  and  Ohlin  theory  of  delinquency  and  opportunity, 
the  older  nonsociological  version,  "the  devil  makes  mischief  for  idle  hands," 
has  considerable  force.  To  make  emplo)TTient  drastically  difficult  for  the  most 
Clime-prone  element  in  the  population  and  then  counter  the  predictable  re- 
sult by  increasing  the  repressive  power  of  the  police  seems  only  calculated  to 
increase  our  difficulties. 

Prime  interest  rates  of  8  per  cent  and  sharply  rising  land  costs  are  not 
only  going  to  stifle  any  significant  addition  to  moderate  and  low-income 
housing  for  the  present,  but  they  are  likely  to  build  into  the  economy  a  level 
of  costs  that  \vill  make  well-nigh  impossible  of  attainment  do%\Ti-the-road 
housing  goals.  The  attempt  to  pin  the  responsibility  for  high  housing  costs 
on  labor,  whatever  its  sins,  when  on-site  labor  costs,  according  to  the  Kaiser 
Commission,  amounts  to  but  4-5  per  cent  of  rental  or  sales  housing  costs, 
10  per  cent  if  interest  on  the  labor  cost  of  the  investment  is  considered,  is 
clearly  unwarranted.  Since  housing  and  emplo)Tnent  are  two  of  the  most  im- 
portant areas  for  the  improvement  of  race  relations,  our  inability'  to  follow 
a  selective  rather  than  a  blunderbuss  approach  to  inflation  control  may  be 
the  most  serious  threat  to  a  practicable  policy  for  the  improvement  of  the 
Negro  condition  and  race  relations.  It  may  also,  by  aggravating  Negro  youth 
unemplo)'ment  and  the  disaffection  of  Negro  youth,  produce  an  increase  in 
both  crime  and  violence.  The  dangers  of  such  an  eventuality  giving  rise  to  a 
repressive  police  t)pe  reaction  by  dominant  elements  in  the  white  societ)-  is 
already  apparent.  The  violent  conflict  between  Black  Panthers  and  police  are 
a  preview  of  scenario  foreseen  in  both  the  report  of  the  Kemer  Commission 
and  Skolnick's,  The  Politics  of  Protest. 

Some  who  are  impatient  with  recent  progress  may  regard  the  likely  re- 
sults of  the  anti-inflation  policy  as  merely  of  a  piece  with  what  they  regard 
as  the  failure  of  American  society  to  carry  out  the  massive  programs  recom- 
mended by  the  Kemer  Commission.  However,  while  the  Kemer  Commission 
calls  for  willingness  on  the  part  of  the  society  to  tax  itself  heavily  to 
redistribute  resources,  a  full  employment  policy  and  a  selective  policy  of  anti- 
inflation  measures  makes  no  such  demand  on  public  altruism,  nor  does  it 
require  the  revolutionar)-  politics  that  more  than  rhetorically  revolutionary 
politics  require  if  they  are  to  be  seriously  pursued. 

One  Year  Later,  the  report  of  Urban  America,  Inc.,  and  the  Urban  Coali- 
tion, makes  clear  that  not  much  of  the  Kemer  Commission's  recommendations 

have  been  acted  on.  Indeed,  in  its  macroscopic  aspects  a  case  can  be  made 
that  the  Negro  condition  has  worsened  rather  than  improved.  It  is  frequently 
pointed  out  that  schools  are  more  segregated  than  before  Brown  v.  the  Board 
of  Education  and  that  housing  is  more  segregated  than  before  the  open  hous- 
ing legislation.  In  addition,  it  has  to  be  recognized  that  while  Negroes  have 
improved  their  position  absolutely,  their  relative  position  has  failed  to  show 
equal  improvement.  It  is  in  terms  of  the  standards  of  the  televised  world  of 
the  dominant  society  that  welfare  is  measured.  Health  indicators  such  as  in- 
fant and  maternal  mortality  sho\v  a  painful  divergence  between  the  perfor- 
mance of  the  two  societies.  Looking  at  the  indicators  of  housing  and  education 
and  those  of  relative  deprivation,  it  might  well  seem  that  there  was  reason 
for  despair  and  that  the  extremists  who  claim  the  system  is  radically  in- 
corrigible have  good  reason  for  their  view. 

Whether  or  not  one  takes  such  a  view  depends  on  whether  one  believes 
that  the  breaks  that  have  occurred  in  the  color  bar  are  merely  insignificant 
examples  of  tokenism  or  whether,  on  the  contrary,  one  views  these  breaks  as 
significant  breaches  that  under  favorable  conditions  will  widen  rapidly.  The 
most  prestigious  institutions  in  the  society  —  colleges,  corporations,  suburbs, 
governments  —  now  have  Negroes  in  them.  The  numbers  may  be  small ;  but 
small  or  not,  they  may  be  sufficient  to  erode  the  legitimacy  of  Negro  exclusion 
in  white  as  well  as  Negro  eyes.  This  is  certainly  true  among  the  elite  of  the 
young  in  the  elite  institutions.  A  black  beauty  queen  candidate  making  it  to 
the  finals  of  a  University  of  Alabama  contest  and  to  the  suite  of  the  queen 
can  be  seen  as  trivial  or  as  highly  consequential  in  the  process  of  overcoming 
white  color  shock.  Glazer  and  Mo)Tiihan,  in  Beyond  the  Melting  Pot,  saw 
the  Negro  as  follo\ving  with  more  difficulty  the  old  ethnic  trail.  Charles  Tilly 
and  others  have  pointed  to  reasons  for  thinking  the  differences  were  more  than 
those  of  degree.  Hopefully  this  is  not  the  case.  If  what  the  Kerner  Commis- 
sion calls  for  is  indeed  necessary,  it  is  probably  beyond  the  power  of  American 
society  as  presently  constituted. 

What  is  possible  in  the  context  of  our  existing  society  is  a  change  in  the 
elite-approved  set  of  values.  Looked  at  from  the  point  of  view  of  the  massive 
govemmentally  sponsored  changes  advocated  by  the  Kerner  Commission, 
the  entrance  of  a  few  Negroes  into  elite  positions  in  corporations,  colleges, 
and  suburbs  may  seem  pitifully  small.  However,  if  this  is  viewed,  not  from 
a  quantitative  point  of  view,  but  from  the  qualitative  one  of  a  change  in  the 
social  signalling  system,  its  importance  could  far  outweigh  the  numbers  im- 
mediately involved.  Integration  at  the  bottom  can  occur  by  compulsion,  under 
duress  of  either  economic  or  political  coercion,  but  integration  at  the  top, 
even  if  small,  can  come  from  the  moral  suasion  of  the  Kerner  Commission  and 
Tom  Wicker's  New  York  Times.  Such  integration  as  occurs  by  changing  the 
S)Tnbols  of  legitimacy  can  have  a  profound  impact  if  it  is  permitted  to  alter 


the  existing  slotting  system  of  role  allocation.  Thirty  years  ago  Orientals  were 
at  the  bottom  of  the  role  structure ;  today,  despite  a  war  and  Japanese  intern- 
ment camps,  they  have  moved  ahead  of  whites.  There  are  major  differences 
between  the  social  structure  of  the  Negro  and  the  Oriental  ghetto,  but  the 
Oriental's  experience  gives  some  hope  that  massive  social  change,  even  in  the 
face  of  prejudice,  is  possible  without  massive  government  action. 

Elite  acceptance  of  a  transformation  of  the  position  of  Negroes  in  the 
role  structure  can  legitimize  that  transformation  and  in  doing  so  facilitate 
the  operation  of  the  economy  through  which  profound  transformations  occur 
with  far  less  resistance  than  would  be  faced  by  an  attempt  to  bull  it  through 
the  formal  political  structure.  This  is  why,  at  a  time  when  top  colleges  and 
corporations  are  legitimizing  the  transformation,  it  is  little  short  of  tragic  that 
anti-inflation  policy  should  be  throwing  a  monkey  wrench  into  the  gears  of 
a  full  employment  economy.  With  an  expanding  economy  it  is  possible,  as  it 
was  in  World  War  II  and  the  Korean  War,  to  accommodate  Negro  upward 
mobility  without  serious  threat  of  displacing  whites.  It  is  possible  to  justify 
Negro  employment  and  upgrading  as  necessary  to  meet  labor  market  demands 
rather  than  as  an  exercise  of  white  atonement  for  white  guilt.  Experience  in 
World  War  II  and  the  Korean  War  suggests  that,  however  distasteful  to  the- 
ologians and  the  New  Left,  this  is  a  more  promising  avenue  than  the  ex- 
ploitation of  the  guilt  feelings  of  "white  racism."  A  contracting  economy, 
one  that  may  even  see  declining  employment  accompanied  by  a  rising  cost 
of  living,  is  one  to  exacerbate  all  the  hostilities  in  the  society. 

Such  an  economy  may  indeed  be  felicitous  for  a  Southern  strategy  and  a 
return  to  the  traditional  verities  of  Neanderthal  economics  and  Neanderthal 
politics.  If  blue-collar  workers  are  fearful  of  losing  their  jobs  they  may,  as 
in  the  past,  turn  on  Negroes  as  enemies  of  their  security'.  If  Negro  youth  is 
even  more  massively  unemployed  and  underemployed  than  is  presently  the 
case,  crime,  violence,  and  the  Panthers  are  likely  to  be  the  alternatives  to  dope 
and  despair.  A  stagnant  economy  is  likely  to  provide  a  further  source  of 
alienation  to  white  youth  and  to  lead  to  continuing  resort  to  disruption  and 
confrontation.  Violence  on  the  part  of  blacks  and  campus  youth  has  begun 
to  bring  about  what  Skolnick  calls  the  politics  of  protest  on  the  part  of  the 
police,  who  no  longer  seem  content  to  occupy  themselves  with  bread  and 
butter  unionism  but  are  entering  the  political  arena  on  behalf  of  their  values. 
A  public  that  is  torn  between  backing  a  strategy  of  police  repression  or  one  of 
enlarged  opportunities  as  an  appropriate  solution  is  likely  to  see  security  with 
the  police  if  violence  ri^|^ 

The  future  of  race  relations  would  seem  to  depend  on  white  leadership 
and  white  attitudes  and  black  leadership  and  black  attitudes.  As  of  the 
moment,  it  seems  clear  that  official  white  leadership  sees  the  perils  of  inflation 
as  more  serious  than  any  perils  its  anti-inflation  measures  may  have  for  race 

relations.  The  official  leadership  seems  ill  disposed  to  even  consider  selective 
anti-inflation  measures  that  might  have  less  harmful  impact  on  Negro  em- 
ployment. White  business  leadership  is  more  divided  on  the  present  official 
course.  It  does  not  seem  as  yet  to  be  seriously  concerned  about  the  impact  of 
official  policy  on  race  relations.  The  A.  F.  of  L.  and  C.  I.  O.  at  the  official 
level  have  sounded  the  alarm  for  the  likely  reason  that  their  own  members 
are  going  to  pay  a  price  and  because  they  have  already  had  to  fight  off 
George  Wallace.  The  papers  are  full  of  news  about  Black  Panthers  and  the 
police.  What  may  give  more  pause  is  when  a  Negro  leader  such  as  Whitney 
Young  in  a  generally  optimistic  book,  Beyond  Racism,  says  the  following: 
"Well  over  150,000  black  veterans  have  returned  home  and  more  are  on  the 
way,  and  they  share  that  attitude.  They're  bitter  and  they  are  angry  —  and 
they  are  skilled  in  the  arts  of  war  and  the  techniques  of  guerrilla  fighting.  It 
would  be  insanity  for  America  to  continue  to  treat  them  the  way  their  fathers 
were  treated.  They  won't  stand  for  it." 

America  seems  like  a  dirty  mine.  It  might  go  for  years  without  blowing 
up  or,  like  Centralia  Number  Five,  take  the  business-as-usual,  no-nonsense 
politicians  painfully  by  surprise.  Unfortunately,  we  are  all  more  or  less  in 
the  mine  though  our  pose  is  that  of  innocent  bystanders  and,  more  to  the 
point,  safe  spectators.  The  massive  measures  that  the  Kemer  Commission 
recommended  would  require  socializing  the  society,  at  least  where  the  Negro 
is  concerned.  Despite  the  attractions  of  the  rhetoric  of  expunging  "white 
racism"  from  the  American  conscience,  it  is  doubtful  that  there  is  any  likeli- 
hood of  our  taking  the  revolutionary  political  action  necessary  to  make  the 
revolutionary  changes  recommended.  What  might  be  possible  is  through  elite 
action  so  to  change  the  value  structure  at  the  top  of  the  society  as  to  bring 
about  a  profound  change  in  the  Negro's  self  valuation  and  the  society's  valua- 
tion of  the  Negro.  For  this  to  succeed,  however,  we  can  ill  afford  policies  that 
depress  the  economy  and  may  well  succeed  in  bringing  on  depression.  Whether 
we  shall  have  the  wit  and  the  will  to  avoid  this  and  get  on  with  the  business  of 
using  a  managed  full  employment  economy  to  solve  the  avoidable  poverty 
of  blacks  and  whites  is  unfortunately,  at  this  writing,  doubtful  indeed. 



A  question  pressing  upon  us  with  increasing  urgency  is,  What  are  the  possi- 
bilities for  political  change  in  America?  More  specifically,  can  the  political 
system  serve  as  a  means  for  efTecting  the  substantive  reallocations  needed  to 
solve  the  enormous  problems  created  within  and  by  our  socioeconomic  sys- 
tem? What  can  we  hope  will  be  done  about  the  continued  plunder  and 
pollution  of  our  natural  resources,  the  growth  of  a  titanic  military-industrial 
establishment,  the  massive  concentration  of  corporate  wealth  and  all  its  en- 
suing abuses,  and  the  \videspread  infestations  of  rural  and  urban  poverty? 
What  kinds  of  solutions  are  in  the  offing  and,  indeed,  what  kinds  of  def- 
initions do  we  bring  to  the  idea  of  "solution"? 

Before  considering  the  possibilities  of  political  change,  let  us  give  some 
critical  attention  to  the  usual  ways  of  approaching  social  problems.  Social 
scientists  and  lay  commentators  alike  have  commonly  assumed  that  solutions 
are  arrived  at  by  a  process  of  systematic  investigation.  By  identifying  all  the 
salient  variables  and  then  constructing  paradigms  which  unravel  the  complex 
interactions  of  these  variables,  we  can  equip  ourselves  with  inventories  of 
causes  and  resources  and  develop  strategies  for  solution.  The  remaining  task 
would  be  to  convince  the  decision-makers  to  push  the  buttons  provided  by 
the  social  scientists.  It  is  expected  that  the  human  stupidity  and  inertia  of 
political  actors  would  deter  the  implementation  of  certain  proposals,  but  de- 
cision-makers are  thought  to  be  as  hungry  as  anyone  else  for  viable  programs 
and  sooner  or  later  would  not  be  unresponsive  to  the  promises  of  science. 

This  scientistic  \aew  of  social  problems  presumes  that  decision-makers  are 
as  immune  to  the  pressures  of  power  and  interest  as  scientists  are,  or  as  sci- 
entists think  they  are.  What  is  missing  from  this  scientism  is  the  essence  of 
politics  itself,  an  appreciation  of  the  inescapability  of  interest  and  power  in 
determining  what  solutions  will  be  deemed  suitable,  what  allocations  will  be 
thought  supportable  and,  indeed,  what  variables  will  even  be  considered  as 
"interrelating"  and  "salient."  The  presumption  that  there  is  a  scientifically 
discoverable   "correct"   solution   to  problems  overlooks  the   fact   that  social 

problems  involve  conflicting  ends  and  often  irreconcilable  interests  and 
value  distributions;  thus  one  man's  "solution"  is  often  another  man's  dis- 
aster. A  "correct"  proposal  for  some  political  actors  is  one  which  resolves  the 
threat  of  an  opposing  interest  without  causing  any  loss  of  privilege,  profit,  or 
status  to  oneself.  This  is  why  the  first  instinct  of  established  interests  is  so 
often  toward  halfhearted  reform  and  wholehearted  repression  ("law  and 
order").  For  other  advocates,  a  "correct"  program  is  one  calling  for  nothing 
less  than  momentous  reallocations  in  the  substance  and  process  of  the  entire 
productive  system  (a  remedy  which  offers  a  kind  of  paradigm  that  usually 
escapes  the  serious  attentions  of  most  liberal  middle-class  social  scientists). 

Unlike  mathematical  problems  which  might  be  resolved  by  procedures 
and  rules  exogenous  to  the  life  subjectivities  of  various  mathematicians,  the 
solutions  to  social  problems  cannot  be  treated  except  in  the  context  of  vested 
and  conflicting  interests  which  give  vested  and  conflicting  definitions  to  the 
problem.  This  is  true  whether  the  question  is  rebuilding  the  ghettoes  or  with- 
drawing our  troops  from  Viet  Nam:  the  solutions  are  potentially  "at  hand" 
or  "nowhere  in  sight,"  depending  on  the  ideological  priorities  and  commit- 
ments of  various  proponents. 

The  scientistic  approach  presumes  that  problems  exist  because  of  the  pre- 
vailing ignorance  of  the  would-be  problem-solvers  rather  than  because  of 
the  prevailing  conditions  of  power  among  social  groups.  But,  again,  unlike 
mathematical  problems  which  begin  and  end  on  paper,  it  goes  without  saying 
that  social  problems  are  never  resolved  by  study  but  by  action.  Many  of  the 
social  ills  we  live  with  have  been  studied  repeatedly,  but  since  they  have  not 
yet  been  resolved  it  is  assumed  by  the  proponents  of  scientism  that  they  need 
further  study.  Here  we  have  an  uncharacteristic  instance  of  social  scientists 
pretending  to  an  ignorance  they  do  not  really  possess.  For  the  last  thing 
some  of  our  problems  need  is  further  study.  Witness  the  hundreds  of  studies, 
reports,  surveys,  and  exposes  done  on  Appalachia  by  a  variety  of  commissions, 
committees,  economists,  and  journalists,  extending  back  more  than  half  a 
century.^  Neither  history  nor  the  historians  have  "by-passed"  or  "neglected" 
the  people  of  Appalachia.  The  material  forces  of  history,  in  this  case  the 
timber  and  mining  companies  that  swindled  and  coerced  the  Appalachians 
out  of  their  lands,  exploited  their  labor,  and  wreaked  havoc  on  their  lives,  were 
all  too  attentive  to  the  destinies  of  that  region  even  though  they  were  never 
held  accountable  for  the  social  costs  of  their  actions.  The  plunder  and  profit 
which  is  the  history  of  the  region  has  been  duly  documented,  yet  Appalachia 
is  still  treated  today  as  a  kind  of  historical  mishap,  an  impersonal  and  pre- 
sumably innocent  development  of  the  "changing  times,"  a  "complex  situation" 
needing  our  concerted  attention. 

^  See   Harry   M.    Caudill,   Night    Comes   to    the    Cumberlands    (Boston:     Little, 
Brown,  1962),  for  the  best  of  many  of  the  more  recent  studies  of  Appalachia. 

Similarly,  the  plight  of  the  urban  poor  in  various  western  industrial 
societies  has  been  studied  and  documented  by  official  and  unofficial  sources 
for  more  than  a  centur)',  and  in  recent  decades  we  have  traced  the  web  of 
interests,  the  private  and  public  forces,  North  and  South,  at  the  national  and 
local  levels,  which  have  contributed  to,  and  perpetuated,  the  black  ghettos. 
The  story  is  well  known  to  us,  but  our  discoveries  have  brought  forth  no 

To  be  sure,  the  first  step  toward  remedy  is  to  investigate  reality.  But  even- 
tually if  no  second  step  is  taken,  no  move  made  toward  action,  then  the  call 
for  "a  study  of  the  problem"  is  justifiably  treated  as  nothing  more  than  a 
s\-mbolic  response,  an  "appropriate  reciprocal  noise,"  designed  to  convey  the 
impression  that  decision-makers  are  fulfilling  their  responsibilities."  The  com- 
missioned "study"  becomes  an  act  which  violates  its  own  professed  purpose: 
rather  than  inducing  change,  it  is  designed  to  mitigate  the  demands  for 
change.  Appearing  before  the  Kerner  Commission,  the  psychologist  Kenneth 
B.  Clark  noted : 

I  read  that  report  .  .  .  of  the  1919  riot  in  Chicago,  and  it  is  as  if  I  were 
reading  the  report  of  the  investigating  committee  on  the  Harlem  riot  of  '35,  the 
report  of  the  investigating  committee  on  the  Harlem  riot  of  '43,  the  report  of  the 
McCone  Commission  on  the  Watts  riot. 

I  must  again  in  candor  say  to  you  members  of  this  Commission  —  it  is  a  kind 
of  Alice  in  Wonderland  —  with  the  same  moving  picture  re-shown  over  and  over 
again,  the  same  analysis,  the  same  recommendations,  and  the  same  inaction.^ 

By  incorporating  Clark's  admonition  into  its  pages  the  Kerner  Report  may 
have  achieved  the  ultimate  in  cooptation,  for  it,  itself,  is  a  prime  example  of 
that  kind  of  official  evasion  and  obfuscation  designed  to  justify  the  very 
status  quo  about  which  Clark  was  complaining.  The  Kerner  Report  demands 
no  changes  in  the  way  power  and  wealth  are  distributed  among  the  classes; 
it  never  gets  beyond  its  indictment  of  "white  racism"  to  specify  the  forces 
in  the  political  economy  which  brought  the  black  man  to  riot;  it  treats  the 
obviously  abominable  ghetto  living  conditions  as  "causes"  of  disturbance  but 
never  really  inquires  into  the  causes  of  the  "causes,"  viz.,  the  ruthless  en- 
closure of  Southern  sharecroppers  by  big  corporate  farming  interests,  the 
subsequent  mistreatment  of  the  black  migrant  by  Northern  rent-gorging  land- 
lords, price-gorging  merchants,  urban  "redevelopers,"  discriminating  em- 
ployers, insufficient  schools,  hospitals  and  welfare,  brutal  police,  hostile  political 
machines  and  state  legislators,  and  finally  the  whole  system  of  values,  ma- 
terial interests  and  public  power  distributions  from  the  state  to  the  federal 

^  See  Murray  Edelman,  The  Symbolic  Uses  of  Politics  (Urbana:  University  of 
Illinois  Press,  1964),  for  an  explanation  of  the  ritualistic  and  control  functions  of 
political  acts. 

^  Clark's  testimony  is  quoted  in  the  Report  of  the  National  Advisory  Commission 
on   Civil  Disorders   (New  York:     Bantam  Books,    1968),  p.    29.     {"Kerner  Report.'") 

Capitols  which  gives  greater  priority  to  "haves"  than  to  "have-nots,"  servicing 
and  subsidizing  the  bloated  interests  of  private  corporations  while  neglecting 
the  often  desperate  needs  of  the  municipalities.  The  Kerner  Report  reflects 
the  ideological  cast  of  its  sponsors,  the  Johnson  Administration,  and  in  that 
sense  is  no  better  than  the  interests  it  served.* 

To  treat  the  symptoms  of  social  dislocation  (e.g.,  slum  conditions)  as  the 
causes  of  social  ills  is  an  inversion  not  peculiar  to  the  Kerner  Report.  Unable 
or  imwilling  to  pursue  the  implications  of  our  own  data,  we  tend  to  see  the 
effects  of  a  problem  as  the  problem  itself.  The  victims,  rather  than  the 
\ictimizers,  are  defined  as  "the  poverty  problem."  This  is  ^vhat  might  be 
described  as  the  "VISTA  approach"  to  economic  maladies:  a  haphazard 
variet)'  of  federal,  state,  and  local  programs  are  initiated,  focusing  on  the  poor 
and  ignoring  the  system  of  power,  privilege,  and  profit  which  makes  them 
poor.  It  is  a  little  like  blaming  the  corpse  for  the  murder. 

Part  II 

In  looking  to  the  political  system  as  a  means  of  rectifying  the  dislocations 
and  abuses  of  the  socioeconomic  system,  we  are  confronted  with  the  un- 
escapable  fact  that  any  political  system,  including  one  which  obser\-es  demo- 
cratic forms,  is  a  system  of  power.  As  such,  it  best  serves  those  who  have  the 
wherewithal  to  make  it  serviceable  to  their  interests,  those  who  have  control 
of  the  resources  of  money,  organization,  jobs,  social  prestige,  legitimacy,  time, 
and  expertise  —  the  resources  which  command  the  attention  and  responses 
of  political  decision-makers.  The  solution  to  our  problems,  then,  rests  on  the 
abilit\-  to  mobilize  power  dedicated  to  serving  the  ends  of  those  who  are  most 
in  need  of  change.  But  the  groups  most  needful  of  substantive  reallocations 
are,  by  that  ver\^  fact,  most  depri\-ed  of  the  necessary  influential  resources  and 
least  able  to  make  effective  use  of  whatever  limited  resources  they  do  possess. 
If  the  poor  possessed  the  material  resources  needed  to  \sin  substantive  pay- 
offs, they  would  not  be  poor  and  would  have  less  need  to  struggle  for  values 
which  the  economic  and  political  systems  readily  allocate  to  more  favored 
interests.  This  is  the  dilemma  of  lower  strata  groups :  their  deprivation  leaves 
them  at  the  low  end  of  any  index  of  power  and  their  relative  powerlessness 
seems  to  ensure  their  continued  deprivation. 

The  representative  institutions  of  a  democratic  system,  howe\-er,  are  ex- 
plicidy  designed  to  make  some  allowance  for  the  power  of  numbers,  and  if 
the  poor  have  nothing  else  they  at  least  have  their  numbers.  But  numbers  are 
not  power  unless  they  are  organized  and  mobilized  into  forms  of  political  ac- 
tion which  promise  to  bring  some  pay-ofT  to  potentially  sympathetic  decision- 

*  See  Andrew  Kopkind's  excellent  critique  of  the  Kerner  Commission,  "White 
on  Black:  The  Riot  Commission  and  the  Rhetoric  of  Reform,"  Hard  Times  (No.  44, 
September  15-22,  1969),  pp.  1-4. 

makers  or  some  punishment  to  recalcitrant  ones.  And  the  mobilization  of 
potential  numerical  strength  requires  the  use  of  antecedent  resources.  Just 
as  one  needs  the  capital  to  make  capital,  so  one  needs  the  power  to  use 
power.  This  is  especially  true  of  the  power  of  numbers  which,  to  be  even 
sporadically  effective,  requires  substantial  outputs  of  time,  manpower,  pub- 
licity, organization,  knowledgeability,  legitimacy  and  —  the  ingredient  that 
often  can  determine  the  availability  of  these  resources  —  money.  The  power 
of  numbers,  then,  is  an  influence  which  is  highly  qualified  by  material  and 
class  considerations. 

Furthermore,  although  the  poor  in  America  represent  a  substantial  seg- 
ment of  the  population,  conservatively  estimated  at  35  to  40  million  people, 
they  are  still  a  minorit)-.  Therefore,  even  when  mobilized  for  electoral  partici- 
pation they  might  have  but  a  limited  impact;  this  seems  especially  true  given 
the  split  between  black  and  white  poor.  The  power  of  numbers  can  more 
readily  ser\-e  the  majority  which  identifies  itself  with  the  "haves,"  especially 
when  the  political  parties,  those  instruments  ostensibly  designed  to  mobilize 
and  register  the  polyarchic  will,  are  in  the  hands  of  unsympathetic  established 
interests  whose  overriding  concern  is  to  maintain  their  own  positions  in  the 
ongoing  '"equilibrium."^ 

Lacking  the  kind  of  bargaining  resources  that  would  make  decision-makers 
readily  responsive  to  them,  and  therefore  lacking  influence  within  those 
"proper  channels"  which  prove  so  serviceable  to  better-endowed  interests,  the 
dispossessed  do  what  they  have  always  done  when  finally  moved  by  that  com- 
bination of  anger  and  hope  which  is  the  stuff  of  protest:  they  try  to  establish 
new  paths  to  the  loci  of  power  with  the  only  resources  they  have :  their  voices, 
their  bodies,  their  buying  power,  their  labor,  denunciations  and  demonstra- 
tions, sit-ins  and  scuffles,  boycotts  and  strikes,  the  threat  of  disruption  and 
actual  disruption.  The  scarcity  of  resources  and  the  instability  of  organization 
which  limit  their  ability  to  mobilize  their  voting  power  also  limit  the  effec- 
tiveness of  their  protest  actions.  Nevertheless,  the  last  decade  has  witnessed  a 
growing  tendency  among  deprived  groups  to  heed  the  old  populist  dictum  to 
"raise  less  corn  and  more  hell,"  to  embark  upon  actions  which  sometimes  in- 
convenience the  normal  arrangements  of  middle-class  life  and  often  upset 
middle-class  sensibilities. 

That  is  the  idea,  to  inconvenience  and  upset.  By  increasing  their  nuisance 
value,  the  dispossessed  hope  to  achieve  a  greater  visibility  for  themselves  and 
a  greater  sense  of  urgency  in  the  public  mind  for  their  plight.  Also,  to  the  ex- 

°  For  tAvo  studies  of  the  ways  local  political  parties  work  to  defeat,  discourage 
and  exclude  the  poor  see  Philip  Meranto,  "Black  Majorities  and  Political  Power: 
The  Defeat  of  an  All-Black  Ticket  in  East  St.  Louis,"  in  Herbert  Hill  (ed.),  The 
Revolt  of  the  Powerless  (New  York:  Random  House,  1970)  and  Michael  Parenti, 
"Power  and  Pluralism,  A  View  from  the  Bottom,"  in  Marvin  Surkin  and  Alan  Wolfe 
(eds.)   The  Caucus  Papers   (New  York:    Basic  Books,   1970). 

tent  that  direct  actions  are  indeed  a  nuisance  and  disruption,  they  can  be  used 
as  a  leverage  when  dealing  with  decision-makers:  direct  action  is  an  attempt 
to  fabricate  bargaining  resources  and  create  situations  of  quid  pro  quo,  thereby 
inducing  through  crude  means  a  responsiveness  from  officialdom  which  the 
business  community  accomplishes  through  more  effective  and  less  strenuous 

There  are  several  signs  that  dissident  groups  may  be  reaching  a  new  stage 
of  development.  There  is  evidence  of  gro\\ing  militancy  among  deprived 
interests:  the  blacks,  Mexican-Americans,  and  other  racial  minorities.  Also, 
there  are  slight  traces,  ver\-  slight,  that  in  places  Hke  Detroit  and  Chicago, 
black  and  white  ethnic  community  leaders  are  beginning  to  join  forces  in 
protest  action.^  Should  the  lower-strata  \vhites  ever  overcome  their  obses- 
sive fear  and  resentment  of  blacks,  and  begin  to  redirect  their  discontent 
against  those  who  o%vti  and  control  so  much  of  the  world  they  inhabit,  then 
protest  in  America  might  well  develop  a  class  consciousness  more  closely  ap- 
proximating class  realities.  Finally,  since  Viet  Nam,  a  feeling  of  disenchant- 
ment has  grown  among  the  more  literate  segments  of  middle-class  America, 
of  whom  college  students  are  the  most  active  and  largest  element;  while 
making  common  cause  with  the  grievances  of  lower-strata  groups,  some 
middle-class  whites  are  also  beginning  to  question,  in  the  fashion  of  militants, 
the  whole  quality  of  life  in  America. 

Yet  we  should  neither  overestimate  the  potential  strength  of  protest  groups 
nor  underestimate  the  repressive,  coercive,  and  preemptive  capacities  of  the 
present  system  of  politico-economic  power.  From  election  laws  to  property 
laws,  from  city  hall  to  federal  bureaucracy,  from  taxation  to  "welfare,"  gov- 
ernment helps  those  who  can  best  help  themselves  and  this  does  not  mean 
those  wanting  and  needing  fundamental  changes.  The  use  of  police  power,  the 
control  of  institutions,  jobs,  and  property,  the  ability  to  discredit,  obfuscate, 
delay,  and  "study"  (what  Richard  Neustadt  calls  the  "almost  unlimited  re- 
sources of  the  enormous  power  of  sitting  still")'  are  all  in  the  hands  of  the 
powers  that  be.  Moreover,  when  local,  state,  and  federal  officials  contend 
that  the  problems  they  confront  are  of  an  order  far  greater  than  the  resources 
they  command,  we  might  suspect  them  of  telling  the  truth;  for,  in  fact,  the 
major  decisions  concerning  the  vast  substantive  allocations  made  in  our 
society  are  commanded  by  the  private  sector  of  the  economy,  and  the  eco- 
nomic institutions  of  a  capitalist  society  are  not  held  accountable  for  the 
enonnous  social  costs  of  their  profit  system. 

It  is  no  longer  a  certainty  that  ^ve  shall  be  able  to  solve  our  social  ills  by 
working  with  the  same  operational  values  and  -within  the  same  systematic 

"^  See  William  Greider,  "Poles,  Blacks  Join  Forces  in  Detroit,"  Chicago  Sun-Times, 
October  12,  1969,  p.  10. 

'Richard  Neustadt,  Presidential  Potter    (New  York:    John  Wiley,    1960),  p.  42. 


structures  that  have  helped  to  create  them.  It  does  seem  that  we  have  seldom 
appreciated  the  extent  to  which  the  political  system  responds  to,  and  indeed, 
represents,  the  dominant  interests  of  the  socioeconomic  system,  and  also  how 
frequently  political  structures  are  simply  bypassed  by  a  corporate  economy 
which  significantly  shapes  the  quality  of  our  material  lives  while  in  most 
respects  remaining  answerable  to  no  one.  A  more  realistic  notion  of  how 
power  is  allocated  and  used  in  the  United  States  should  leave  us  less  sanguine 
about  the  possibilities  for  political  change. 

Unless  there  is  a  widespread  transition  in  the  political  consciousness  of 
America  that  will  allow  us  to  call  to  account  the  ways  in  which  the  wealth  of 
this  nation  is  produced,  distributed,  and  used,  we  have  no  reason  to  hope 
that  the  "guardians  of  the  public  trust"  will  stop  behaving  like  the  servants  of 
the  dominant  private  interests,  and  no  reason  to  presume  that  our  political 
institutions  will  prove  "viable"  in  treating  the  tragic  life  situations  faced  by 
many  millions  in  this  country.  Given  the  "three  R's"  of  politics:  Reform, 
Repression,  and  Revolution,  it  can  no  longer  be  taken  as  an  article  of  faith 
that  we  are  moving  toward  the  first. 




When  black  people  took  to  the  streets  in  1967,  striking  out  against  the 
forces  of  oppression,  President  Johnson  declared  a  National  Day  of  Prayer 
and  appointed  a  commission  on  riots.  At  the  time,  one  wag  observed  that  it 
would  have  made  just  as  much  sense  had  the  President  reversed  himself  and 
called  for  a  study  of  prayer  and  a  National  Day  of  Riots.  A  year  or  so  later, 
a  black  judge  and  member  of  a  similar  presidential  commission,  the  Com- 
mission on  Violence,  suggested  a  moratorium  on  commissions  and  a  commit- 
ment to  action.  The  learned  judge,  of  course,  was  adding  his  voice  to  those 
who  argue  that  commissions  are  appointed  to  deal  with  the  politics  of  volatile 
situations  rather  than  with  the  situations  themselves.  The  Kerner  Commission, 
in  my  estimation,  was  no  exception.  It  was  a  political  expedient  of  the  moment 
and  in  spite  of  the  idealistic  commitment  of  some  of  its  members  and  staff 
people  (including  those  of  the  latter  who  were  fired  for  apparently  taking 
their  jobs  too  seriously) ,  its  Report  was  destined  to  go  the  way  of  many  similar 
reports  - — ■  grist  for  theses  and  dissertations  and  fodder  for  conferences  such 
as  this  one.  Thus,  I  find  it  a  bit  ironic  that  we  are  gathered  here  for  what  has 
been  called  a  revisit  to  the  Kerner  Report  with  the  implied  assumption  that 
the  Report  was  a  prescription  for  social  action.  I  would  have  chosen  the 
terminology  "post-mortem"  and  left  off  the  assumption. 

Nevertheless,  in  spite  of  my  feelings  about  the  barrenness  of  the  Report  as 
a  prescriptive  document,  I  am  pleased  to  join  you  in  this  discussion  because 
I  am  hopeful  that  by  focussing  on  the  Commission  in  terms  of  what  it  said 
and  what  it  did  not  say  and  how  it  managed  not  to  say  certain  things  we 
may  be  able  to  identify  some  of  the  crucial  concerns  in  what  has  been 
euphemistically  called  race  relations.  In  the  next  few  minutes,  then,  I  want 
to  discuss  the  Kerner  Report  by  drawing  on  my  biography  as  a  black  man  and 
a  member  of  an  oppressed  group,  an  activist  and  veteran  of  the  civil  rights 
movement,  a  self-proclaimed  member  of  the  black  liberation  struggle,  and 
lastly  and  perhaps  least  significantly,  as  a  professional  social  scientist.  I  want 
to  look  at  the  Report  both  in  terms  of  what  it  said  and  what  it  failed  to  say, 
and  I  want  to  relate  all  of  that  to  the  reality  of  the  black  struggle  as  I  under- 
stand it.  I  would  then  like  to  close  with  some  comments  about  the  implications 

of  this  for  the  future  course  of  race  relations,  which  is  to  say,  of  course,  the 
future  of  American  society. 

Let  us  begin  by  ascertaining  what  the  Commission  said.  The  basic  argu- 
ment, which  has  by  now  become  a  household  phrase,  was  that  the  widespread 
and  unprecedented  urban  insurrections  were  the  outgrowth  of  white  racism. 
More  specifically,  the  Commission  argued  that  white  racism  was  responsible 
for  the  rise  of  an  explosive  mixture,  and  that  the  mixture,  in  turn,  led  to  the 
rebellions.  Among  the  components  of  that  volatile  mixture  the  Commission 
included,  inter  alia,  pervasive  discrimination  in  employment,  education,  and 
housing ;  black  in-migration  and  white  exodus ;  black  ghettos ;  frustrated  hopes 
from  unfulfilled  expectations  resulting  from  great  legislative  and  judicial 
victories;  a  climate  which  tends  to  approve  of  white  violence  and  lawless- 
ness directed  toward  those  seeking  social  and  political  change;  feelings  of 
frustration  and  powerlessness ;  police  as  symbols  of  white  power  and  oppression ; 
and  a  new  mood  among  black  youth.  The  Commission  couched  its  findings 
with  what  was  accepted  as  an  ominous  warning  that  American  society  was 
becoming  a  country  of  two  unequal  factions,  one  white  and  one  black. 

Although  I  would  quarrel  with  the  verb  form  —  is  becoming  —  because, 
consistent  with  the  will  of  the  white  majority,  American  society  has  always 
been  one  of  two  separate  and  unequal  factions,  the  accuracy  of  the  Commis- 
sion's findings  are  beyond  reproach.  However,  these  findings  do  not  come 
over  very  well  as  discoveries.  The  listing  of  the  abject  conditions  under  which 
black  Americans  live  was  little  more  than  affirming  the  obvious.  Any  mod- 
erately intelligent  human  being  who  spends  a  day  or  two  within  these  shores 
must  sense  the  racist  disposition  of  America  and  the  colonial-caste  system 
under  which  blacks  are  obliged  to  live.  Indeed,  these  conditions  have  been 
adequately  documented  in  scores  of  books,  journals,  and  government  reports. 
That  oppressed  people  react  to  such  oppression  in  volatile  ways  is  common 
knowledge  to  anyone  with  even  the  slightest  interest  in  comparative  social 

For  example,  to  reinforce  but  not  belabor  the  point  being  made  here. 
United  States  Government  statistics  have  long  suggested  that  the  overall 
economic  plight  of  American  blacks  is  little  better  than  that  experienced  by 
the  country  at  large  during  the  years  of  the  Great  Depression.  That  is  a 
very  important  piece  of  information  and  cannot  be  overemphasized;  it 
answers  a  host  of  questions  which  both  liberals  and  acknowledged  racists  are 
prone  to  raise.  During  the  longest  sustained  boom  in  the  histon-  of  the 
American  economy  its  black  subjects  have  enjoyed  a  recession.  What  do  you 
suppose  white  Americans  would  have  done  had  the  abysmal  conditions  of  the 
thirties  not  been  reversed?  Singing  praises  to  the  government  and  pouring 
libations  to  the  corporations?  I  doubt  it. 

At  any  rate,  the  foregoing  were  the  major  findings  of  the  Kemer  Com- 


mission.  That  is  essentially  what  it  said.  What  it  did  was  to  reduce  to  elegant 
and  provocative  language  what  many  of  us  had  known  and  been  saying  all 
the  time.  Thus^  the  only  real  value  in  having  the  Commission  restate  these 
concerns  was  to  give  legitimacy  to  them  by  enshrouding  them  with  the 
imprimatur  of  the  National  Government.  However,  even  that  asset  dissipated 
when  the  President  and  the  Vice  President,  as  well  as  Congress,  ignored  its 
recommendations  and  indirectly,  if  not  directly,  questioned  the  accuracy  of 
the  Commission's  findings. 

So  much  for  the  findings.  Let  us  turn  to  our  main  task  —  assessing  the 
Commission's  errors  and  omissions.  The  major  fault  of  the  Commission  is 
that  it  stated  its  propositions  in  such  general  universal  language  that  the 
whole  society  was  indicted  —  not  that  it  should  not  have  been;  but  by  doing 
so  in  such  fashion  and  in  such  language  the  responsibility  and  guilt  of  indi- 
viduals and  groups  were  rendered  more  obscure  rather  than  clear  and  specific. 
The  thrust  of  the  Commission's  Report  could  be  summed  up  as  "Everybody  is 
guilty,  but  no  one  is  to  blame." 

Given  the  political  nature  of  the  Commission,  essentially  a  status  quo  group 
working  within  the  ideological  constraints  of  the  ver)-  structure  against  whom 
the  insurrectionaries  were  presumably  rebelling,  we  should  not  have  expected 
more.  Indeed,  some  of  the  reputed  inside  stories  on  the  Commission  claim 
that  the  "liberal"  faction  included  persons  such  as  Roy  Wilkins  of  the 
NAACP  and  Herbert  Jenkins,  Chief  of  Police,  Atlanta,  Georgia,  two  gentle- 
men who  have  not  been  distinguished  by  their  ability  to  understand  radical 
behavior.  The  real  tipofl  to  the  status  quo  orientation  of  the  Commission  is  to 
be  found  in  the  two  advisory  panels  which  were  established  to  facilitate  the 
Commission's  work.  What  were  the  two  panels?  One  dealt  with  insurance 
and  the  other  with  private  enterprise.  Enough  said. 

Returning  to  the  Commission  and  its  errors,  the  Report  assigned  culpa- 
bility to  white  racism,  but  it  made  no  effort  to  connect  specific  behavior  pat- 
terns of  white  Americans  to  white  supremacy  as  a  major  tenet  of  western 
civilization.  It  would  have  been  helpful  had  the  Commission  defined  racism 
in  a  way  which  would  have  allowed  white  individuals  and  groups  to  under- 
stand—  if  there  are  those  who  do  not  —  when  they  are  performing  racist 
acts  and  the  implications  of  these  acts  for  their  black  compatriots. 

Let  me  indicate  what  I  mean.  As  Frank  Joyce^  has  pointed  out,  to  say 
that  American  society  is  permeated  by  \vhite  racism  is  to  say  that  most  whites 
are  taught,  deliberately  or  thoughtlessly,  that  they  are  better  than  nonwhite 
people.  Whether  deliberately  or  thoughtlessly,  the  implications  for  black 
people  are  the  same.  Racism  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  nature  of  one's  af- 
fective response  to  black  people.    Just  as  one  may  either  love  or  detest,  say, 

^  Frank  Joyce,  "Racism  in  the  United  States,"  in  Priscilla  Long,  ed.,  Tht  New 
Left  (Boston:    Porter  Sergeant,  1969),  pp.  128-50. 

dogs  without  questioning  one's  feelings  of  superiority  toward  them,  so  it  is 
with  regard  to  white  racism  and  black  people.  A  white  racist  may  either 
love  or  detest  blacks  and  react  patemalistically  or  malevolently  to  their  pres- 
ence. It  does  not  matter.  He  is  a  racist  if  he  believes  that  whites  are  superior 
to  nonwhite  people. 

To  say  that  American  society  is  racist  is  also  to  say  that  it  is  organized  to 
insure  the  superordinate  position  of  whites.  The  introduction  of  the  phrase 
"organized  to  insure"  is  very'  important,  because  it  allows  us  to  assign  culpa- 
bility both  individually  and  institutionally  by  placing  individuals  and  groups 
in  their  organizational  context.  The  question  becomes.  What  role  does  this 
individual  or  institution  play  in  maintaining  the  subordinate  position  of  the 
oppressed  black  American?  What  does  he  do  to  maintain  the  racist  order? 
Any  act  which  serves  to  either  enhance  the  superordinate  position  of  the 
whites  or  thwart  the  liberation  aspirations  of  oppressed  blacks  is  a  racist  act. 
Such  acts  may  be  intended  or  unintended,  conscious  or  unconscious,  benev- 
olent or  malevolent,  hostile  or  friendly;  it  does  not  matter.  Acts  are  racist 
because  of  their  impact,  not  because  of  the  intentions  of  their  perpetrators. 
For  example,  ^vhenever  public  officials  such  as  those  assembled  here  support 
measures  which  enhance  the  position  of  whites  at  the  expense  of  blacks  or 
when  they  fail  to  support  measures  designed  to  facilitate  black  liberation  they 
are  performing  racist  acts.  The  political  realities  of  the  situations  • —  group 
pressures,  party  obligations,  re-election  concerns  and  the  like  —  not-with- 
standing, such  acts  would  be  racist. 

Had  the  Commission  indulged  itself  in  this  kind  of  analysis  we  should 
have  been  at  least  on  the  road  toward  singling  out  in  a  specific  sense  the 
racist  tendencies  of  individuals  and  groups  who  run  this  country.  Time  will 
not  permit  further  elaboration,  but  my  point  should  be  clear;  it  is  the  acts 
of  individuals  as  individuals  and  individuals  as  parts  of  corporate  structures 
which  the  Commission  referred  to  in  a  collective  sense  as  white  racism. 

A  second  important  failing  of  the  Report  was  that  it  failed  to  put  white 
racism  in  a  systems  context  so  that  we  can  see  who  benefits  directly  and  ma- 
terially from  American  racism.  I  am  talking  about  the  economics  of  racism. 
Such  analysis,  it  seems  to  me,  must  by  definition  precede  any  attempt  to  de- 
vise even  the  most  tentative  prescription  for  change.  However,  from  the 
Kerner  Report  one  could  infer  that  either  all  whites  benefit  equally  or  that 
they  all  suffer  equally  from  racism  in  this  country.  The  truth  is  that  white 
racism  has  a  highly  differentiated  impact  in  the  white  community.  Only 
a  small  number  of  the  \vhite  majority  realize  immediate  material  gains  while 
the  remainder  must  content  themselves  with  psychic  payofTs  for  their  racism 
(of  course,  to  the  extent  that  all  social  phenomena  are  related  all  whites 
profit  from  racism,  but  I  am  talking  about  direct  material  rewards).  Any 
prescriptive  solutions,  especially  those  which  make  demands  upon  the  time 

and  wealth  of  the  man  in  the  street  must  take  this  differentiated  impact  into 
account.  I  shall  come  back  to  this  point  later. 

Since  the  Commission  did  not  do  so,  let  us  raise  this  question  now.  Just 
who  benefits  directly  and  materially  from  white  racism  in  America?  To 
answer  this  question  we  may  div^ide  white  society  into  three  groups,  the 
dirty  workers,^  those  whites  above  the  dirty  workers  in  the  pecking  order  of 
society,  and  the  remainder  of  the  \vhite  population.  Dirty  workers  are  those 
whites  (and  some  blacks)  who  are  hired  or  hire  themselves  to  administer, 
contain,  and  control  blacks  in  their  colonial-like  environment.  These  include 
welfare  workers,  policemen,  public  prosecutors  and  judges,  bail  bondsmen, 
bill  collectors,  the  rapacious  operators  of  retail  oudets  in  the  black  com- 
munity, loan  sharks,  landlords,  real  estate  brokers,  and  —  in  many  respects  — 
teachers  and  clergymen.  To  these  we  might  add  the  rapidly  burgeoning 
bureaucracy  of  the  various  and  sundry  poverty  programs  along  with  the 
dispensers  of  foundation  largesse.  Dirty  workers,  as  the  term  implies,  per- 
form their  tasks  in  the  interest  of  white  society  as  a  whole.  White  society 
expects  the  dirty  workers  to  keep  blacks  in  line. 

Those  whites  above  the  dirty  workers  in  the  pecking  order  are  those  who 
either  own  or  have  interest  in  the  more  legitimate  enterprises  which  traffic 
heavily  in  the  black  community,  as  well  as  those  who  hire  black  labor  at  sub- 
standard wage  rates.  Their  profits  from  racism  appear  on  their  balance  sheets 
along  with  their  profits  from  their  other  activities.  The  function  of  the  dirty 
workers  is  essential  to  the  success  of  the  second  group.  Both  they  and  the 
dirty  workers  benefit  directly  and  materially  from  white  racism.  However, 
taken  together  these  two  groups  constitute  only  a  small  portion  of  the  total 
white  population.  The  third  group  is  really  a  residual  category  which  in- 
cludes the  vast  majority  of  whites.  Persons  in  this  group  receive  no  direct 
material  rewards  from  their  racism.  Indeed,  the  masses  of  working-class 
whites  are  so  impotent,  so  powerless,  that  they  have  few  opportunities  to 
parlay  their  racism  into  material  benefits. 

At  this  point  the  logical  question  would  seem  to  be.  If  so  few  people 
benefit  materially  and  directly  from  white  racism,  why  is  the  problem  so 
intractable?  Well,  the  Commission  could  have  dealt  with  that  and  it  was 
remiss  for  not  doing  so.  The  Commission  could  have  asked,  "To  w-hat  extent 
is  the  colonial-caste  system  under  which  black  Americans  live  functional  for 
maintaining  the  present  socioeconomic  order?"  Or  more  bluntly,  "To  what 
extent  is  white  racism  functional  in  our  neo-Keynesian  quasi-capitalist  econ- 
omy?" Of  course  we  know  that  the  decision  to  bring  blacks  to  this  country 
in  the  first  place  was  an  economic  one.  Slaver)'  was  an  important  variable  in 
the  development  of  our  economy.  We  need  to  raise  the  question  as  to  whether 
that  initial  relation  between  the  black  presence  and  the  economic  system  has 
changed.  There  are  at  least  some  indications  that  the  answer  may  be  negative. 

'  This  interpretation  of  the  dirty  workers  is  also  taken  from  Ibid. 

For  example,  at  the  moment  we  seem  to  be  on  the  threshold  of  a  deliber- 
ately induced  recession.  And,  of  course,  the  brunt  of  the  downturn  will  be 
borne  by  blacks  and  other  marginal  workers.  Keep  in  mind  that  during  the 
moments  of  greatest  prosperity,  the  black  community  enjoys  a  recession.  The 
important  question  I  am  raising  here  is  what  would  be  the  effect  of,  and  the 
reaction  to,  such  deliberately  induced  recessions  if  there  were  no  black  under- 
class to  bear  the  brunt  of  them.  My  guess  is  that  it  would  not  make  life  less 
difficult  for  governments  and  the  other  major  institutions  of  society.  I  find 
the  foregoing  to  be  obvious  yet  profound  questions  whose  answers  are  essential 
to  any  discussion  of  alternative  strategies  for  ending  the  race  problem.  If  the 
Commission  had  explored  these  somewhat  revolutionary  questions,  it  would 
have  broken  new  ground  and  laid  the  basis  for  a  dialogue  on  the  implica- 
tions of  certain  economic  and  political  structures  for  the  future  course  of 
race  relations.  However,  as  we  have  already  noted,  such  was  not  to  be.  The 
Commission  was  content  to  propose  what  amounted  to  nothing  more  than  a 
warmed  over  version  of  the  much  discussed  domestic  Marshall  Plan,  even 
though  it  has  never  been  taken  seriously  by  those  in  positions  of  power  and 
trust.  Even  if  such  recommendations  were  taken  seriously,  there  are  con- 
vincing reasons  to  question  the  efficacy  of  such  a  scheme,  for  underlying 
the  Marshall  Plan  idea  is  the  notion  that  the  race  problem  can  be  solved 
without  basic  structural  changes.  As  I  have  already  intimated,  such  cannot 
be  taken  for  granted. 

What  else  did  the  Commission  say,  or  rather  not  say?  Let  us  turn  to  that 
most  important  chapter  dealing  with  police  and  community  relations.  The 
Commission  was  quite  candid  in  discussing  the  feeling  among  many  blacks 
that  the  police  is  the  enemy,  the  agent  of  an  alien  and  oppressive  force.  Never- 
theless, the  Commission  could  have  dealt  with  this  problem  also  in  a  more 
thorough  fashion.  The  Commission  did  not  raise  the  fundamental  question, 
viz.,  in  the  context  of  the  American  socio-political-economic  system,  what  is 
the  role  of  the  police  vis  a  vis  the  teeming  black  urban  communities?  What 
does  the  broader  society  expect  the  police  to  do  about  the  black  community? 
Does  society  envisage  the  police  as  protectors  of  the  black  community,  or  does 
society  look  upon  the  police  as  dirty  workers,  as  their  protectors  from  the 
black  community? 

Since  the  Commission  did  not  adequately  deal  with  these  questions  and 
since  police-community  relations  may  be  the  most  volatile  issue  in  the  entire 
equation,  it  may  be  worth  our  while  to  dwell  on  it  a  moment.  What  are  the 
answers?  I  am  inclined  toward  the  view  that  the  inarticulate  but  well  under- 
stood and  widely  accepted  mandate  to  the  police  is  to  "keep  the  niggers  in 
their  place."  The  media  are  full  of  examples  which  reinforce  this  argument. 
One  incident  which  occurred  during  the  rebellions  of  1967  serves  as  a  very 
graphic  example.    It  was  reported  that  when  looters  spared  the  windows  of 


stores  identified  with  the  sign  "Black  owned,"  authorities  on  street  patrol 
gratuitously  broke  the  windows  of  the  store  fronts  which  had  been  spared 
by  the  looters.  Such  behavior  suggests  very  strongly  that  the  authorities  see 
themselves  involved  in  a  struggle  between  blacks  and  whites  rather  than  be- 
tween the  la^vless  and  the  law.  Granted  isolated  examples  do  not  make  gen- 
eral laws,  I  still  find  that  example  very  instructive.  Similarly  instructive  is  the 
example  of  New  York  police  attacking  members  of  the  Black  Panther  Party 
as  the  latter  reported  for  judicial  business  on  city  property.  And,  of  course, 
so  is  the  current  violent  campaign  against  militant  black  groups.  My  files  on 
police-community  relations  reveal  numerous  other  examples.  There  is  one  of 
the  open  defiance  of  the  black  mayor  of  Cleveland,  Ohio,  when  his  police 
felt  that  he  was  being  soft  on  the  "niggers"  and  another  indicating  similar 
police  behavior  when  a  black  judge  in  Detroit,  Michigan,  moved  to  protect 
the  constitutional  rights  of  black  citizens  in  that  city.  To  go  on  would  be  to 
belabor  the  point  which,  by  now,  should  be  clear:  the  police  are  perceived 
by  many,  including  many  of  their  own,  as  dirty  workers. 

Finally,  let  us  explore  the  Commission's  errors  regarding  the  new  mood 
in  the  black  community.  The  Commission  discussed  what  it  entitled  "Black 
Power"  in  little  more  than  two  pages.  The  major  thrust  of  this  part  of  the 
Report  was  the  argument  that  the  new  mood  in  the  black  community  was 
really  old  wine  in  new  bottles,  and  that  therefore  it  represented  a  retreat  from 
integration  and  confrontation  with  racism.  This  may  have  been  the  greatest 
disservice  of  the  entire  Report,  because  while  black  power  may  be  old  wine  in 
new  bottles,  the  Commission  had  both  the  wrong  wine  and  the  wrong  bottles. 
The  new  mood  in  the  black  community  is  a  function  of  the  intensification  of 
the  old  argimient  between  nationalists  and  integrationists  which  has  been 
going  on  in  the  black  community  since  the  days  of  Frederick  Douglass  and 
Martin  Delany.  These  two  currents  have  always  been  present  in  the  black 
community.  Historically,  those  blacks  espousing  integrationism  as  an  ideology 
have  allied  themselves  with  forces  in  the  white  community,  and  as  a  result 
the  black  liberation  struggle  has  always  been  controlled  in  varying  degrees 
by  whites.  Meanwhile,  those  who  accept  nationalism  as  the  optimum  sustain- 
ing ideology  for  the  black  struggle  have  always  constituted  an  isolated  and 
relatively  impotent  minority  with  little  or  no  standing  in  their  communities. 
The  new  mood  which  the  Commission  tried  to  deal  with  with  its  "wine-bottle" 
analogy  is  really  an  indication  that  the  followers  of  integrationism  as  an 
ideology  are  losing  out  to  the  nationalists.  Although  this  development  is  more 
pronounced  among  the  young,  it  is  taking  hold  in  every  sector  of  the  black 
community.  Leronne  Bennett,^  Senior  Editor  of  Ebony  and  perhaps  the 
most  capable  contemporary  historian  of  the  black  movement,  refers  to  this 
as  the  unveiling  of  the  veils.    He  suggests  that  as  successive  panaceas  —  in- 

^  Ebony  (August,  1969). 

eluding  integrationism  —  are  tried  and  proven  barren,  the  black  struggle 
moves  to  a  different  level  of  struggle.  Integrationism,  the  argument  goes, 
has  been  proven  barren  and  the  dialectic  has  ushered  in  a  stage  of  nationalist 
rebellion  characterized  by  the  ascendancy  of  nationalists  and  nationalism. 

This  interpretation  of  the  new  mood  among  blacks  is  very  important  and 
ought  to  be  given  careful  consideration  by  those  who  have  decision-making 
authority  in  this  society,  because  if  it  is  valid  and  should  the  trend  toward 
nationalism  continue,  America  will  be  faced  with  the  choice  of  making 
fundamental  concessions  or  opting  for  total  suppression  of  blacks,  because 
once  nationalism  takes  hold  it  is  doubtful  that  a  people  will  continue  to 
passively  accept  a  life  as  a  half-free  people. 

Having  come  this  far  in  my  forboding,  yet  honest,  analysis,  I  want  to 
close  with  some  thoughts  on  the  future  course  of  race  relations  in  America. 
Since  the  Kerner  Report  was  issued  almost  two  years  ago,  as  the  background 
papers  for  this  conference  demonstrate,  things  have  gotten  worse  for  black 
people.  Social  welfare  programs  are  being  cut;  the  Nixon-Mitchell  Adminis- 
tration is  obviously  unfriendly  toward  the  black  liberation  struggle;  hostile 
forces  have  been  sent  to  city  halls  and  state  houses  in  alarming  numbers; 
police  forces  around  the  country  have  stockpiled  monstrous  arsenals  to  pacify 
black  communities;  the  McClelland  subcommittee  has  published  more  than 
20  volumes,  including  police  mugshots,  on  radical  groups  paving  the  way 
for  quick  identification  and  perhaps  elimination;*  demographers  tell  us  that 
black  in-migration  to  the  cities  will  continue,  and  we  do  not  need  demog- 
raphers to  tell  us  that  whites  will  continue  to  run  to  the  suburbs.  Thus, 
cities  are  likely  to  become  impoverished  islands  inhabited  by  nationalist- 
oriented  black  people  and  surrounded  by  affluent  suburbs  inhabited  by  na- 
tionalist-oriented white  people. 

And  add  to  that  cauldron  a  new  and  volatile  variable  and  we  have  a 
sobering  glimpse  of  the  future.  The  new  variable  is  direct  competition  and 
conflict  between  blacks  and  working-class  whites.  In  the  past,  the  era  of  the 
civil  rights  movement,  the  major  thmst  of  the  black  movement  was  toward 
symbolic  goals,  goals  which  could  be  satisfied  by  legislative  and  judicial  de- 
cisions, tokenism,  and  a  few  individual  rewards.  Although  such  concessions 
aggravated  the  more  rabid  whites,  they  cost  the  average  white  man  nothing 
more  than  his  abused  sense  of  superiority.  The  future  will  be  different.  Con- 
temporary and  future  goals  of  the  black  movement  cannot  be  met  on  indi- 
vidual and  symbolic  bases.  They  can  be  met  only  through  very  expensive, 
both  materially  and  psychologically,  compensatory  programs  based  upon 
group  considerations,  programs  which  single  out  blacks  as  special  objects  of 
societ'/s  attention  and  treasures.    The  white  worker  who  has  not  benefitted 

*  U.S.     Senate,    Permanent    Subcommittee    on    Investigations,    Hearings,    Riots, 
Civil  and  Criminal  Disorders,  90th  Congress,   1st  Session.    See  especially  Part   20. 


directly  and  materially  from  his  racism  and  who  sees  himself  as  being  in  the 
same  economic  straits  as  the  dispossessed  and  powerless  blacks  can  be  ex- 
pected to  revolt,  especially  when  he  is  being  asked  to  pay  part  of  the  bill. 

However,  I  hasten  to  add  that  I  see  no  evidence  that  any  government  is 
prepared  to  advocate  such  compensatory  programs  and  rile  the  white  worker. 
Politicians  have  "discovered"  the  white  worker  and  his  political  worth  (the 
silent  majority,  forgotten  American,  middle  American),  and  begun  appealing 
to  him  and  his  fears  with  an  eye  on  future  election  returns. 

Where  does  this  cauldron  lead?  The  implications  are  both  ominous  and 
obvious.  If  anyone  can  reverse  this  trend,  and  I  am  not  very  optimistic  on 
this  score,  it  is  you,  men  of  power  and  wealth  in  this  society.  The  hour  is  late; 
as  existentialist  men,  the  choice  is  yours. 



I  am  pleased  to  address  my  remarks  tonight  to  the  topic  chosen  for  dis- 
cussion by  the  Illinois  Assembly.  To  revisit  the  Kemer  Commission  some  22 
months  after  its  findings  were  made  public  is  not  only  appropriate  but  nec- 
essaiy  if  serious  consideration  is  to  be  given  to  this  society's  capacity  for  mean- 
ingful response  to  the  fundamental  domestic  problem  of  guaranteeing  black 
Americans  equity.  Many  public  officials,  scholars,  and  concerned  citizens  are 
similarly  engaged  in  reviewing  what  progress  has  been  made  on  the  race  rela- 
tions front  over  the  past  two  years.  Their  inquiries  have  been  stimulated  by 
the  repeated  occurrence  of  racial  violence  and  the  demonstrated  refusal  of 
white  authority  figures  and  structures  to  listen  to  this  form  of  political  pro- 
test. The  more  sober  analyses  consistently  conclude  on  a  highly  pessimistic 
note  regarding  this  society's  response  capacity.  A  typical  representative  here  is 
the  study  "One  Year  Later"  by  Urban  America  and  the  Urban  Coalition 
which  charts  the  movement  of  America  in  the  direction  most  feared  by  the 
Kemer  Commission:  two  separate  and  unequal  societies,  one  black  and  one 

To  read  the  background  papers  for  this  conference  is  to  be  struck  by  a 
similarly  uniform  agreement  among  the  various  authors  on  the  absence  of 
changes  in  the  social,  economic,  and  political  status  of  black  Americans  since 
the  release  of  the  Kerner  Commission's  Report.  A  few  authors  admittedly  do 
chart  some  minor  changes  that  have  occurred  since  the  Report's  release  on 
March  1,  1968.  But  these  minor  changes  are  exceptions  to  the  more  general 
pattern  in  which  the  status  quo  has  been  reinforced.  The  isolated  exceptions 
noted  fall  only  at  the  margins  and  are,  at  best,  small  increments  in  a  setting 
that  all  authors  seem  to  agree  demands  basic  and  fundamental  change. 

The  Kemer  Commission's  Report  projects  three  alternative  action  courses 
available  in  the  aftermath  of  civil  violence  in  the  1960's.  These  include  con- 
tinued pursuit  of  present  policies,  ghetto  enrichment,  or  integration.  It  is 
clear  from  the  background  papers  at  this  conference  and  from  other  anal- 
yses that  our  society  has  not  pursued  policies  of  ghetto  enrichment  nor  has  it 
opted  for  the  Kemer  Commission's  choice  of  policies  consistent  with  integra- 
tion principles.    Rather,  we  have  continued   to  pursue  what  were  present 

policies  during  the  Kemer  Commission's  deliberations  to  a  greater  extent 
than  the  other  two  options  available.  But  even  this  description  is  not  a 
totally  accurate  picture  of  what  has  transpired  in  race  relations  since  the 
recent  civil  disorders.  If  anything,  the  previous  policies  have  been  intensified 
and  reinforced  by  the  politics  of  polarization,  by  augmented  social  control 
forces,  and  by  increased  private  arms  sales  to  fearful  and  threatened  whites 
and  blacks. 

Why  has  this  response  pattern  prevailed  rather  than  alternative  ones  sug- 
gested by  the  Kerner  Commission?  Why  have  status  quo  or  punitive  policies 
triumphed  at  the  expense  of  ameliorative  solutions  aimed  at  the  source  of  re- 
cent civil  disorders?  Why  have  the  Kerner  Commission's  recommendations 
been  spumed  in  favor  of  short-term  suppressive  measures?  This  conference 
appropriately  raises  the  issue  of  what  obstacles  have  prevented  the  latter  and 
encouraged  the  former  kinds  of  responses.  The  background  papers  point  to  a 
number  of  obstacles  to  fundamental  change  within  selected  policy  areas.  But 
what  is  missing  in  all  this  discussion,  may  I  suggest,  is  an  assessment  of  the 
role  riot  commissions  themselves  play  in  fostering  or  preventing  meaningful 
political  change.  If  we  are  serious  in  revisiting  the  Kerner  Commission,  then 
some  attention  to  riot  commissions'  role  in  stimulating  or  blocking  political 
change  is  called  for. 

The  primary  perspective  of  my  presentation  is  that  riot  commissions 
represent  obstacles  to  fundamental  political  change.  I  do  not  mean  to  suggest 
by  this  that  riot  commissions  have  a  monopoly  on  obstructing  changes  de- 
manded by  blacks  and  some  whites  after  civil  disorders  have  subsided.  Nor  do 
I  mean  to  suggest  that  the  obstacle  riot  commissions  represent  is  entirely  of 
their  own  making.  I  do  mean  to  suggest  that  riot  commissions  are  devices  by 
which  dominant  power  interests  deflect  demands  for  power  redistribution  in 
the  aftermath  of  civil  violence.  My  argument  is  that  as  deflection  devices, 
riot  commissions  remove  immediate  pressures  for  meaningful  action  and,  in 
long-range  terms,  are  basically  unable  to  accomplish  a  redistribution  of  power 
for  reasons  inherent  to  all  riot  commissions. 

The  regularity  with  which  mayors,  governors,  and  presidents  appoint  ad 
hoc  riot  commissions  immediately  after  civil  disorders  is  impressive  if  not 
surprising.  Any  survey  of  riot  commissions  from  1917  to  1943  and  again  from 
1964  to  1969  results  in  an  impressive  catalogue  of  official  investigative  bodies. 
But  this  should  not  be  surprising  in  view  of  the  position  political  executives 
find  themselves  in  when  their  city,  state,  or  nation  experiences  race  riots  or 
civil  disorders.  In  the  immediate  aftermath  of  cataclysmic  racial  violence, 
political  executives  are  faced  with  demands  for  meaningful  action  but  lack 
ready  recourse  to  resources  for  responding  to  those  demands.  But  ad  hoc, 
temporary,  or  advisory  commissions  are  one  alternative  available  to  all  polit- 
ical executives.    Creating  such  commissions  gives  the  appearance,  moreover, 

of  doing  something  meaningful  about  the  massive  disruptions  that  have  inter- 
rupted the  city,  state,  or  national  politics  as  usual.  But  it  also  does  something 
more.  It  holds  out  the  promise  that,  after  serious  investigation,  programmatic 
recommendations  will  be  advanced  to  remedy  the  causes  of  racial  violence. 
The  failure  of  past  and  recent  riot  commissions  to  fulfill  that  promise  repre- 
sents an  important  obstacle  to  fundamental  political  change  in  this  society. 

Riot  commissions  are  fairly  consistently  charged  with  three  primary 
tasks:  to  answer  questions  concerning  what  happened,  why  it  happened,  and 
what  can  be  done  to  prexent  racial  violence  from  happening  again.  The  task 
of  thoroughly  investigating  the  first  and  second  questions  leads  to  expectations 
that  riot  commissions  will  provide  an  accurate,  factual,  and  literal  account 
of  events  that  transpired  during  civil  disorders  and  of  causes  that  gave  rise  to 
disorder  events.  But  these  expectations  are  fulfilled  rather  irregularly.  For 
example,  the  McCone  Commission  incorrectly  described  what  happened  in 
the  1965  Los  Angeles  riot  as  "formless,"  "senseless,"  and  "hopeless"  violence 
"engaged  in  by  a  few"  and  then  went  on  to  attribute  the  riot's  cause  to  dis- 
respect for  law  and  to  "brutal  exhortations  to  violence."  Contrast  this  ac- 
count with  the  Mayor's  Development  Team  in  Detroit  which  saw  the  dis- 
order there  as  a  form  of  protest  that  resulted  from  long-standing  grievances 
concerning  police,  housing,  emplo)'ment,  and  education  policies.  The  ir- 
regularity of  such  disparate  conclusions  is  attributable  to  constraints  that  are 
generic  to  riot  commissions  as  organizations. 

Three  primary  constraints  on  riot  commissions'  abilit)^  to  speak  accurately 
to  questions  of  xvhat  happened  and  why  it  happened  may  be  identified.  First, 
riot  commissions  lack  adequate  time  and  resources  to  accomplish  a  thorough 
research  effort  on  riot  events  and  causes.  The  Kerner  Commission  and  the 
Governor's  Commission  in  New  Jersey  had  less  than  three  months  to  conduct 
research  while  the  McCone  Commission  and  the  Mayor's  Development  Team 
had  even  less  time  than  that  to  carry  out  their  research  efTort.  Resources  for 
complex  research  were  similarly  insufficient,  as  each  of  the  riot  commissions 
failed  to  receive  funds  and  manpower  initially  promised  them.  Second,  riot 
commissions'  ability  to  speak  forcefully  and  accurately  to  riot  events  and  causes 
is  limited  by  the  political  environment  into  which  their  reports  are  released. 
Determining  what  can  be  said  in  a  politically  acceptable  way  often  supersedes 
the  presentation  of  factual  accounts.  The  quest  for  political  truth  at  the  ex- 
pense of  literal  truth  about  riot  events  and  causes  is  a  characteristic  common  to 
all  recent  riot  commissions  to  a  greater  or  lesser  degree.  Third,  the  member- 
ship composition  of  riot  commissions  influences  the  content  of  final  reports  in 
important  ways.  Members  are  selected  because  they  represent  prestigious  and 
dominant  institutions  that  give  importance  and  visibility  to  riot  commission 
activities.  But  these  same  institutions  represented  usually  had  some  associa- 
tion with  riot  events  or  causes.  The  inability  of  institutional  representatives  to 


accurately  report  the  nature  of  that  association  is  a  self-evident  limitation  on 
riot  commissions'  quest  for  literal  truth. 

The  above-described  internal  constraints  impinge  on  riot  commissions' 
ability  to  fulfill  the  first  two  tasks  usually  assigned  to  them  by  political  execu- 
tives. But  it  is  the  third  task  of  formulating  measures  designed  to  prevent 
racial  violence  from  recurring  that  is  most  important  in  the  present  considera- 
tion. Its  importance  derives  from  expectations  that  programmatic  recom- 
mendations advanced  by  riot  commissions  will  have  an  impact  on  public  policy 
and  will  stimulate  meaningful  change  in  the  status  of  black  Americans.  Ex- 
pectations that  riot  commission  recommendations  will  be  implemented  his- 
torically have  not  been  and  contemporarily  are  not  being  fulfilled.  The 
absence  of  an  impact  by  riot  commission  recommendations  is  not  simply  an 
accident.  Rather,  it  can  best  be  explained  as  a  consequence  of  inherent  con- 
straints built  into  riot  commissions  as  organizations. 

Riot  commissions  are  relatively  powerless  organizations.  By  their  very 
titles  they  are  "select  commissions,"  ''study  commissions,"  or  ''advisory  com- 
missions." After  creation  by  political  executives,  riot  commissions  are  not 
given  formal  powers  to  bring  about  the  implementation  of  their  recommenda- 
tions. Such  recommendations  remain  as  purely  suggested  or  advisory  measures 
unless  riot  commissions  are  able  to  form  supportive  relations  with  interest 
groups  or  other  key  officials  that  result  in  the  conversion  of  recommendations 
into  public  policy.  Thus,  riot  commissions  adopt  a  variety  of  strategies  to  over- 
come their  relatively  powerless  status  in  order  that  their  recommendations 
might  be  implemented.  But  limitations  on  strategies  pursued  in  the  imple- 
mentation process  are  sufficiently  numerous  and  consequential  to  constrain  riot 
commissions'  ability  to  influence  public  policy  in  the  race  relations  area.  For 
the  remainder  of  this  presentation  I  shall  concentrate  on  limitations  inherent 
in  riot  commission  strategies  to  (1)  maximize  their  reports'  visibility,  (2) 
monopolize  legitimacy  in  interpreting  civil  disorders,  (3)  reassure  aroused 
groups,  and  (4)  anticipate  needs  of  public  officials. 

An  initial  strategy  of  riot  commissions  to  overcome  their  powerlessness  is 
to  seek  maximum  visibility  for  their  reports  in  the  hope  that  such  visibility 
w411  further  their  recommendations  in  the  implementation  process.  To  this 
end,  riot  commissions  pay  significant  attention  to  the  audience  addressed  in 
their  report  and  consciously  attempt  to  gain  coverage  of  their  reports  through 
press  conferences  involving  considerable  fanfare  as  their  reports  are  released. 
But  this  strategy  may  backfire.  The  mass  media  in  New  Jersey  overplayed 
that  riot  commission's  passing  reference  to  official  corruption  in  Newark  at 
the  expense  of  discussing  issues  more  central  to  the  riot  phenomena.  Similarly, 
the  national  press  concentrated  on  the  Kerner  Commission's  reference  to 
"white  racism"  in  a  manner  inconsistent  with  the  relative  emphasis  given 
that  term  in  the  Kerner  Commission  Report.  Thus,  unintended  and  unantici- 

pated  consequences  of  seeking  maximum  visibility  for  commission  reports  may 
involve  the  mass  media's  playing  up  controversial  but  relatively  minor  aspects 
of  commission  reports. 

A  second  strategy  for  increasing  the  likelihood  of  recommendations  being 
implemented  is  for  riot  commissions  to  claim  a  monopoly  on  legitimate 
interpretations  of  civil  disorders.  That  is,  if  riot  commissions  can  establish 
their  interpretation  of  civil  disorders  as  being  correct,  the  probability  of  their 
recommendations  derived  from  those  interpretations  being  accepted  is  in- 
creased. But  alternative  interests  that  may  not  be  represented  on  riot  com- 
missions frequently  contest  the  validity  of  official  commission  interpretations. 
"Competing  riot  commissions"  are  formed  by  antagonistic  interest  groups  for 
purposes  of  advancing  counter-claims  on  how  the  disorder  events  are  to  be 
interpreted.  The  competing  riot  commissions  attempt  to  undermine  the  kinds 
of  interpretations  advanced  by  official  riot  commissions.  For  example,  the 
McCone  Commission's  conser\-ative  reading  of  the  1965  Los  Angeles  disorder 
was  immediately  challenged  by  a  more  liberal  reading  from  the  California 
Advisor}-  Commission  of  the  United  States  Commission  on  Civil  Rights. 
Similarly,  the  New  Jersey  commission  was  challenged  by  a  state  Policeman's 
Benevolent  Association  commission  and  the  Kemer  Commission  generated  a 
competing  mvestigation  from  the  McClellan  Committee.  These  competing 
commissions  employ  many  of  the  same  strategies  and  tactics  as  official  riot 
commissions  in  manipulating  the  symbols  of  legitimacy.  The  difference  be- 
tween the  two  forms  of  commission  activity  is  that  official  commissions  are 
usually  of  a  temporary  nature  and  lack  an  on-going  base  of  support,  whereas 
competing  commissions  arise  from  powerful  interest  groups  that  are  perma- 
nently established  to  influence  public  policy.  Competing  investigations  by 
antagonistic  interests  significantly  undermine  the  second  strategy  of  riot  com- 
missions to  further  their  recommendations  in  the  policy  arena. 

Offering  reassuring  statements  to  otherwise  aroused  groups  is  a  third 
strateg)'  by  \vhich  riot  commissions  attempt  to  augment  their  power  status. 
Dispelling  popular  rumors  and  myths  while  at  the  same  time  interpreting  dis- 
turbing disorder  events  in  the  context  of  traditional  American  beliefs  gives  riot 
commissions  the  appearance  of  bodies  with  which  most  citizens  can  identify. 
But  riot  commissions  at  the  same  time  must  advance  programmatic  recom- 
mendations that,  by  their  very  nature,  are  politically  controversial  and  there- 
fore will  alienate  some  citizens.  The  contradiction  between  the  reassuring 
function  and  the  prograirmiatic  function  is  basic  and  inherent  in  the  riot 
commission  process.  While  some  citizens  or  groups  may  be  quieted  by  re- 
assurances forthcoming  from  riot  commissions,  these  same  citizens  may  be 
aroused  into  opposition  by  the  controversial  nature  of  programmatic  recom- 
mendations that  are  at  odds  with  their  political  interests.  The  publics  to  whom 
commission  reports  are  addressed  may  be  relatively  united  in  agreement  on 


fundamental  precepts  of  the  American  belief  system,  but  quite  divided  on  how 
those  precepts  are  translated  into  public  policy  recommendations.  The  in- 
ability of  riot  commissions  to  reassure  divided  publics  in  their  recommendatory 
function  is  a  consequence  of  the  degree  to  which  such  recommendations  favor 
some  interests  and  disadvantage  other  interests.  Thus  riot  commission  strategy 
aimed  at  reassuring  aroused  publics  is  basically  incompatible  with  the  issuance 
of  controversial  programmatic  recommendations. 

A  final  strategy  adopted  by  riot  commissions  is  to  anticipate  the  political 
needs  of  key  officials  in  the  governmental  process.  One  tactic  here  is  to 
treat  lightly  the  riot-related  behavior  of  political  executives,  most  of  whom  are 
involved  in  riots  to  the  extent  that  mayors,  governors,  and  presidents  command 
the  social  control  forces  that  suppress  racial  violence.  Such  command  activities 
may  be  a  subject  for  riot  commission  review.  The  virtual  absence  of  criticism 
of  political  executives  appears  to  be  a  consequence  of  riot  commissions'  de- 
pendence on  these  same  officials  for  the  implementation  of  their  recommenda- 
tions. Beyond  not  commenting  on  executives'  riot-related  behavior,  riot  com- 
missions adopt  perspectives  that  are  meant  to  "fit"  the  political  needs  of  elected 
officials.  Thus  the  New  Jersey  commission  set  a  target  date  of  January  1, 
1968,  for  the  release  of  its  report  so  that  the  Governor  would  have  its  recom- 
mendations for  consideration  in  his  annual  message  to  the  state  legislature. 
Similarly,  the  Kerner  Commission  adopted  the  President's  "message  on  the 
cities"  as  a  framework  for  some  of  its  programmatic  recommendations,  an- 
ticipating that  this  would  coincide  with  his  legislative  goals.  The  expecta- 
tion here  was  that  the  President  would  use  the  Commission's  recommendations 
as  a  tool  for  furthering  his  ovm  domestic  program.  The  problem  with  this 
strategy  is  that  it  is  a  one-way  street.  That  is,  riot  commissions  are  forced 
to  adopt  perspectives  of  the  executive,  but  they  have  no  assurance  that  political 
executives  will  pick  up  the  recommendations  and  pursue  them.  President 
Johnson's  reception,  or  lack  thereof,  of  the  Kerner  Commission  Report 
illustrates  the  dependency  this  strategy  involves  riot  commissions  in.  Antici- 
pating the  needs  of  critical  political  executives  does  not  insure  that  such 
executives  will  further  riot  commission  recommendations. 

Each  of  the  above-reviewed  external  strategies  involves  inherent  con- 
straints that  prevent  riot  commissions  from  implementing  their  recommenda- 
tions in  the  political  process.  Kenneth  Clark  observed  as  much  in  his  testi- 
mony before  the  Kerner  Commission  when  he  recalled  that  reading  riot 
commission  reports  of  the  past  was  like  "Alice  in  Wonderland  —  with  the  same 
moving  picture  re-shown  over  and  over  again,  the  same  analysis,  the  same 
recommendations,  and  the  same  inaction."  But,  as  demonstrated  above,  the 
failure  to  implement  recommendations  of  riot  commissions  is  not  so  much  a 
failure  of  riot  commissions  per  se  as  it  is  a  commentary  on  the  larger  political 
system's  intransigence  and  inability  to  meet  demands  of  black  Americans.    If 

riot  commissions  are  not  necessarily  a  willful  party  to  this  politics  of  intransi- 
gence, how  can  they  be  viewed  as  obstacles  to  fundamental  change  as  they  were 
described  at  the  beginning  of  this  discussion? 

Riot  commissions  are  essentially  conservative  devices  by  which  political 
executives  remove  pressure  from  themselves  for  meaningful  and  immediate 
action  by  consigning  racial  problems  to  study.  At  the  point  of  their  creation, 
riot  commissions  are  given  considerable  visibility  and  attributed  importance  by 
political  executives.  Mayors,  governors,  and  presidents  search  out  the  offices 
of  powerful  interests  for  representatives  to  study  the  conditions  leading  to 
riots  and  hold  out  the  promise  that  programs  generated  by  commissioners  de- 
signed to  diminish  the  incidence  of  riots  in  the  future  will  be  enacted.  But 
the  program  recommendations  advanced  by  riot  commissions  are  usually  not 
adopted  by  those  same  political  executives  creating  the  commissions.  After 
considerable  passage  of  time  while  riot  commissions  have  deliberated  on  what 
kind  of  report  to  adopt,  the  previous  demands  and  political  arousal  necessi- 
tating the  creation  of  riot  commissions  have  faded  and  more  stable  patterns 
of  political  interaction  have  been  restored.  In  this  setting  of  politics  as  usual, 
political  executives  are  efTectively  able  to  ignore  commission  recommendations 
that  they  previously  had  promised  to  attend  to.  Recognizing  this  situation, 
riot  commissions  may  attempt  to  influence  critical  actors  in  the  political  sys- 
tem to  accept  their  findings  and  program  proposals.  But  riot  commissions 
normally  fail  in  this  effort  because  they  have  no  apparent  constituency,  no 
ready  support  system,  and  no  formal,  legal  sanctions  to  deploy  against  other 
political  actors  and  groups.  Their  advisory  and  temporary  status  precludes 
successfully  playing  the  pressure  group  politics  game.  But  more  importantly, 
and  tragically,  threats  posed  by  civil  disorders  to  given  political  power  group- 
ings and  dominant  interests  are  conveniently  deflected  in  an  immediate  sense 
and  defeated  in  an  ultimate  sense  by  riot  commission  activities.  Riot  com- 
missions function  to  literally  study  American  racial  problems  to  death. 



J.  M\-RON  Atkin,  Dean,  College  of  Education,  University  of  Illinois 

David  J.  Bordua,  Professor  of  Sociolog)-,  University  of  Illinois 

Walter  Franke,  Professor  of  Labor  and  Industrial  Relations,  University  of 

Gene  Graham,  Professor  of  Journalism,  University  of  Illinois 
Mack  H.  Jones,  Professor  and  Chairman,  Department  of  Political  Science, 

Atlanta  University 
Thomas  Kitsos,  Research  Associate,  Institute  of  Go\ernment  and  Public 

Affairs,  University  of  Illinois 
Norton  E.  Long,  Professor  of  Political  Science,  University  of  Illinois 
Philip  Meranto,  Assistant  Professor,  Institute  of  Government  and  Public 

Affairs,  Universit)'  of  Illinois 
Michael   Murray,   Assistant   Professor  of   Political   Science,   University   of 

Illinois  at  Chicago  Circle 
David  J.  Olson,  Assistant  Professor  of  Political  Science,  Indiana  University 
Michael  Parenti,  Visiting  Associate  Professor,  Institute  of  Government  and 

Public  Affairs,  University  of  Illinois 
Joseph  Pisciotte,  Assistant  Professor,  Institute  of  Government  and  Public 

Affairs,  University  of  Illinois 
Merlin  Taber,  Professor  of  Social  Work,  University  of  Illinois 
Marvin  Weinbaum,  Associate  Professor  of  Political  Science,  University  of 





Mr.  Wayne  F.  Anderson 
City  Manager 

Professor  J.  Myron  Atkin 


College  of  Education 

University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 

Mr.  Vernon  Barkstall,  Exec.  Dir. 
Urban  League  of  Champaign  Co. 

Mr.  Charles  L.  Dancey 
Peoria  Journal  Star 

Mrs.  Orville  Foreman 

Professor  Walter  H.  Franke 
Institute  of  Labor  and  Industrial 

University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 

Mrs.  Irvan  Gal\in 

"Mr.  Lewis  Gold 
Instructor,  Department  of 

Political  Science 
University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 

Professor  Gene  S.  Graham 
Department  of  Journalism 
University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 

Professor  Robert  Heifetz 
Department  of  Urban  Planning 
University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 
*Indicates  round-table  chairmen 

Dr.  James  B.  Holderman,  Exec.  Dir. 
Board  of  Higher  Education 

Mr.  Edward  Holmgren,  Exec.  Dir. 
Leadership  Council  for  Metropolitan 

Open  Communities 

Mr.  Jacob  Jennings 
Board  of  Higher  Education 

Professor  Richard  M.  Johnson, 
Head,  Department  of  Political  Science 
University  of  Illinois,  Chicago 

Mr.  David  Keene 



*Professor  Lyman  A.  Kellstedt 
Department  of  Political  Science 
University  of  Illinois,  Chicago 

Mr.  Charles  J.  Komaiko 
Allstate  Insurance  Co. 

Mr.  Keith  Lape 

Office  of  Superintendent  of 

Public  Instruction 

Mr.  Barnett  Larks 

Asst.  Chief,  Downstate  Operations 

Illinois  State  Employinent  Service 


Mr.  Robert  Lenhausen 

Director  Dept.  of  Local  Govt.  AflPairs 


Mr.  KUrold  Liston,  Editor 
The  Daily  Pantagraph 

^Professor  Michael  A.  Murray 
Department  of  Political  Science 
University  of  Illinois,  Chicago 

Mr.  Roger  W.  Nathan,  Exec.  Dir. 
Illinois  Commission  on  Human 


Representative  James  D.  Nowlan 

Mrs.  Athan  Pantsios 

Professor  Michael  Parenti 
Institute  of  Government  and  Public 

University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 

Mr.  Edward  Parsons, 

Assoc.  Exec.  Dir.,  Welfare  Council 

of  Metropolitan  Chicago 

Representative  Daniel  M.  Pierce 
Highland  Park 

Professor  Julian  Rappaport 
Department  of  Psychology- 
University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 

Representative  Leland  H.  Rayson 
Tinley  Park 

Mr.  Robert  A.  Stalls,  Director 
Carbondale  Model  Cities 

Representative  Paul  Stone 



Dr.  Jack  Van  Der  Slik 
Political  Science  Research  Fello\v 
Illinois  Legislative  Council 

Mr.  George  Warneke 
Senate  Municipal  Corporations 


Professor  Norbert  Wiley 
Department  of  Sociology 
University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 

Dr.  Franklin  D.  Yoder,  Director 
Department  of  Mental  Health 

Professor  How^ard  M.  Ziff 
Department  of  Journalism 
University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 

Guest  Speakers 

Professor  Mack  Jones,  Chairman 
Department  of  Political  Science 
Atlanta  University 
Atlanta,  Georgia 

Professor  David  J.  Olson 
Department  of  Political  Science 
Indiana  University 
Bloomington,  Indiana 

Chancellor  Jack  Peltason 
University  of  Illinois 


Director  Samuel  K.  Gove 
Professor  Philip  Meranto 
Mrs.  Jean  Baker 


Mr.  Ed  Crego 
Mr.  Dennis  Judd 
Mrs.  Alison  Lauriat 

♦Indicates  rouifflAabk^^irnien 






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